I promised not to talk about Ghana versus England until the African Cup of Nations qualifier between Ghana and Congo was over. Well it was over by halftime when two goals from Partizan Belgrade pair Prince Tagoe and Dominic Adiyiah had Ghana sitting comfortably. The match ended 3-0 with substitute Sulley Muntari continuing to reinvent himself under Goran Stevanovic by scoring in the second half. Thanks to our beloved GTV there was no coverage so other than the scoreline and the scorers there is very little I gleaned but that’s another story.
So by half time I should have been able to break my self-imposed embargo in order to respond to what I consider the disrespect Fabio Capello has shown by releasing Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson and Frank Lampard ahead of the friendly tomorrow. It is a sentiment shared by former Black Stars captain.
Between getting over my annoyance and enjoying some good live football between Cote d’ Ivoire and Benin I could not break the embargo on this space earlier, my immediate response limited to 140 characters at a time.
All he could muster in response to queries over his action is that the match is going to be ‘interesting.’ The remainder of what he said in his press conference is simply patronizing.
The one dominant message I take from Capello’s action is that this is not a serious match. He has in one fell swoop devalued a game many had hyped since it was announced. After all, it was a chance for England to test its mettle against a World Cup quarter finalist. Would he have done same if the match was against another European team or a South American team? While I can understand resting your players, the match’s status as a friendly meaning you can basically sub your whole team in the course of the match. Would it have hurt him so much if he kept his released players and played them a half? Combing through his statement there is a clear contradiction. We organized the friendly because we want to keep the boys together for a long period, he says. If that’s the case doesn’t releasing your most important players as well as your newly re-installed captain defeat the purpose?
When it was first announced I was angry. You always want to play against the best in my opinion. Also, in the event that the best played against Ghana and lost there would be no excuses.
The saving grace might be that for the many fans who will feel aggrieved, the atmosphere will make up for it. Radio shows in Ghana and social networking sites, while unscientific, show that a large number of Ghanaians in London are excited about the match. The enthusiasm for this game is so intense that people with split allegiances are confused and depending on who you believe, injured player Kevin Prince Boateng is suddenly healed.
In all of this, there is no doubt in my mind that a victory will be sweet and will not be enjoyed any less.
Any way to put one over your former colonial masters I guess.