“I do not understand why we do the same things and expect different results.’’
Activist and a director at Odekro, Kinna Likimani said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Tuesday July 9th 2019.
Her comments come as a result of the Black Stars’ loss to the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, Monday in the on-going 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. This is the 32nd edition of the tournament.
The Black Stars loss’ ended Ghana’s quest to win the African Cup of Nations after 37 years.
1982 was the last time the Black Stars won the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. It was the 13th edition. After that victorious campaign, the closest the Stars have come to winning was in 1992, 2010 and 2015. They didn’t win. In all three campaigns Ghana’s Black Stars ended up as the runner-up.
Even though the Black Stars have not been able to deliver any major trophy since 1982, the country has consistently spent more money on the men’s Senior National Team to the detriment of other teams.
In 2012, $5.5m was budgeted for the year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The winners’ prize money was $1.5 million.
In 2015 Ghana’s expenditure increased to $5.8m while the prize money for the tournament remained the same.
But in 2017 the country’s budget dipped to $3.4m and the prize money went up to $4m for the winner.
This year the budget for the 2019 AFCON was not released. In May, the Sports Ministry denied reports that $8 million had been budgeted for the Black Stars’ participation in the Egypt competition.
What we do know is each player was paid $30,000 for qualifying for the knock-out phase of the competition.
The same attention is not given to other national teams.
In 2015’s All Africa Games, Ghana’s female Senior National Team the Black Queens won gold. Despite that, they had still not been paid their full bonuses by January 2017.
They had to hit the streets for the government to pay. Even then, the government paid only $13,000 out of the $25,000 owed to them.
They are not alone. The Under-20 side, Black Princesses, had to wait for months before they were paid their qualification bonus. They had beaten Equatorial Guinea to book a place at the 2016 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
The U-20 and U-17 teams have also performed below par in their respective competitions. The U-20 team won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009. Since then, they have qualified only twice in the last five editions of the tournament.
After dominating the U-17 World Cup in the 90s, Ghana’s Black Starlets have only qualified three times in the past 10 tournaments. The Ghana Black Starlets failed to qualify for the knock-out phase of the 2005 tournament. The team finished fourth in 2007 and was booted out in the quarter finals stage in the 2017 tournament in India.
The Black Stars have received more attention and more money by our governments and they have not delivered. The Black Queens have won gold with the little given to them. Has Ghana been rewarding mediocrity and shunning excellence?
By: Kofi Boateng
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.