Just in case you have not heard, Sulley Muntari is reported to have lashed out at Coach Milovan Rajevac for not playing him enough in the game against Australia. The reports further state that the coach says he should no longer be a part of the team. The players came to the aid of one of their own and begged that he be allowed to stay in camp. It appears their efforts and Sulley’s subsequent apology have worked. Earlier today he practiced with the team. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has since issued a carefully-worded official statement.
It is safe to say that every player on every squad in the world cup would like to feature in a game and better yet directly contribute to the success of their team. There is no better feeling than when you put your stamp on a larger team goal or project. I am sure those of you who have to work in teams in your jobs can relate to that desire. So no harm, no foul there. On one hand he just wants to help the team win and did not feel he was given enough of an opportunity. But as with some of these incidents, it comes down to the mode of communication.
It is the nature of professional sports that you need a competitive spirit. It takes that spirit to be good and further separates the good from the great. However, in team sports that competitive fire must be channeled for the good of the team. You must rise above your own selfish interests and look at the team first. It’s not easy but it is required if one is to build a winning team.
There are many examples of talented teams that implode because of a lack of that team ethos. The latest case in point is the French who when they say “allez les bleus” must be thinking “a Paris” because that is the only place they are headed as they exit the tournament.
So what does this all mean?
This could ultimately be just what it is. A distraction. A shooting-star like distraction; fleeting and short-lived on our way to glory. It will take on less significance if the Black Stars go through to the second round. This is not the first time there has been a distraction in the Black Stars camp. Leading up to the tournament, while the team was in London, a similar thing occurred but that was soon shoved to the side after our win against Latvia. Before Ghana played its first match, the players’ dissatisfaction with their accommodation could have served as a distraction. It faded from one’s memory after the game against Serbia. In sports, nothing cures ills more than winning. So, if we get a result against Germany pffff, it will just be another ‘such is life’ incident.
As for Sulley, my gut and this report suggest he will play no further part on the field, a situation he may find hard to deal with. He will be allowed to stay on as part of the 23-man playing body but it is hard for me to see how Rajevac continues to trust him both on and off the field. Having said that, things change fast around here with injuries and you just never know.
However, if Ghana bow out in the first round, you better believe there will be an avalanche of criticism right or wrong heading his way. People instinctively look for blame and since he has a trail of incidents behind him, he will be an easy target for why we did not qualify.