UPDATE: The Ghana Football Association has reached a compromise of sorts with a number of European clubs regarding the reporting date for a few Black Stars players as they head to camp.
Marseille is putting in a special request for Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan to remain at the club until after January 7, the day players are to report for preparations towards the 2012 Cup of Nations. Prior to African Cup of Nations tournaments, stories like this are typical – the result of the importance of the African player in Europe and the tournament being organized smack in the middle of the European season.
When it comes to the Ayews though, I have flashbacks of Marseille keeping their dad until the last minute before “crucial” matches (NB: every non-friendly runs the risk of being characterized as “crucial” in Ghanaian sports journalism circles). Once upon a time in the ’90s, Marseille would keep their dad for a midweek match and arrange for a private jet to deliver him in time for a weekend Black Stars match. Immediately after the game, he would be whisked away. Mind you, his performance was always second to none. Ahhh, but these were literally the good old days of AA, before players cited fatigue, injuries, headaches etc. as reasons they couldn’t play for their country.
Additionally, these were before FIFA mandated teams to release their players 14 days before the start of tournaments such as the Afcon and seven days before FIFA sanctioned friendly dates and qualifiers.
The question in this case is whether Ghana should agree to Marseille’s request or insist on the rules being respected to the letter. If the shoe were on the other foot and Ghana asked for Dede and Jordan to be released for an important match (say, Meteors qualifying for Olympics or U-20s World Cup qualifier), would Marseille accede?
Given that they had a chance last year to do that and didn’t why are we having this discussion? Far from being vindictive, such arrangements are possible when you’ve built a certain amount of goodwill with a certain club. It cannot be a one way street. This is just my opinion though. What do you think? Vote below but leave your more detailed comments in the comments section.