A major concern of Ghana's video gamers is laid bare before EA Sports, developers of the 'FIFA' brand of association football video games. Do you agree?
This is a message from one very annoyed and disillusioned video game-loving Ghanaian. I have held back for so long from writing this, hoping each year - for all of the last eight years - that you would realise your shortcomings and make the necessary adjustments. Quite regrettably, you've failed to, thus this diatribe.
Prior to 2006, we never felt too aggrieved not seeing the Black Stars featured among the set of national sides in your annual releases of the 'FIFA' video game. For several reasons, the Stars' omission had been justifiable; Ghana had, after all, never been to the World Cup and thus wasn't fit to be counted among the world's elite. Hence we had to be content with picking the Brazils and Argentinas when enjoying a good old game of 'FIFA'.
But then came Ghanaian football's defining year, 2006, when the country got to the World Cup after decades of trying. And we didn't just get there, but indeed went on to rock global football's core with surprise wins over powerhouses like the USA and the Czech Republic, as well as gallant displays against Brazil and eventual winners Italy. Ghana, with Stephen Appiah and company punching way above their weight, had arrived. Amazingly, it appeared you were the only ones who hadn't noticed and, quite ridiculously, the FIFA 07 game that was launched later that year had us excluded.
Of course we frowned at that bit of injustice but never raised hell, instead opting to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you required a little more convincing of just how good we were.
Patiently we waited for the next opportunity and, in 2010, it arrived. At that year's World Cup in South Africa, we went a step further. Serbia fell, and Australia were held. In the next round, 'almighty' America was swatted aside again, thus securing passage to the quarter-finals where only a bunch of botched spotkicks and Luis Suarez's shameless 'mafia' contrived to make us cower before Uruguay. Bar those misfortunes, a place in the last four could certainly have been ours. We were heartbroken, yet the world had fallen deeply in love with us. Again, everyone had save you.
The least you could have done to show some commiseration with our plight, if not in sheer admiration of our glowing feat, was to include us in subsequent 'FIFA' games, and maybe splash Asamoah Gyan on the front cover beside Lionel Messi for good measure (for crying out loud, Gyan had a better tournament than Leo in 2010, you know!). At least that could have afforded myself and my countrymen the opportunity to pitch the Black Stars against Uruguay on our PlayStation consoles whenever we felt like it, adjust the settings to 'Amateur', and thrash them 20-0, thus exacting some vengeance, albeit only virtually. Still, you wouldn't be bothered to permit us even that solace.
Instead, all you could do was give us space in the video game modeled on the 2010 Fifa World Cup; a right which we had earned by default, anyway. Even so, some of the Ghanaian players you portrayed looked so unlike the real guys. Trust me, we might take you on for that sometime soon.
And we could adopt even more drastic measures – such as boycotting your franchise while patronizing the Pro Evolution Soccer brand which, quite honorably, has since granted us the same recognition you have deprived us of - if, after Ghana reach the semi-finals or beyond at this year's World Cup in Brazil, you fail to hand us the long overdue reward of a slot in FIFA !
Till then, keep calm and watch us shock the world in Brazil, while you sit up and take notice for once 'cos, frankly, Ghana 'abr3!'
PS: As I type this, a Nigerian colleague nudges me to include their own complaint but, honestly, you know they haven't done enough to be on 'FIFA', so just ignore them should they even dare 'cry their own cry'.