By Nana Frimpong
For the first time in recent memory, many Ghanaians could not care less whether or not the Black Stars win its next international outing namely, the first leg of a crucial Brazil 2014 qualifying play-off against Egypt in Kumasi on Tuesday.
It is not because nationalism is running in short supply among Ghanaian football fans. Rather, a sizable dose of anger and widespread malcontent over what appears undue over-indulgence of the team's whims that has bred such apathy.
Ghana president John Mahama visited the team's camp last week ahead of tomorrow's big game apparently to wish the players well in their preparations. It all seemed quite commendable and welcome until the first gentleman, in a move some have described as unnecessary, sentimental and somewhat arbitrary, announced a 50% raise in the winning bonus each member of the team is due to receive should they defeat the Egyptians come October 15, wholly irrespective of what the aggregate outcome after the reverse in Cairo in a month's time could be.
Much as most Ghanaians would love to see Ghana feature at the next World Cup, they certainly would be ever so slightly more interested in paying their bills, putting food on their dining tables
Now, under ordinary circumstances, this would not have raised many eyebrows, for the cause-and-effect theory almost precisely correlates greater motivation with better performances. The present economic circumstances in Ghana, however, are anything but ordinary. Utility tariffs have hiked by mind-blowing percentages, major national construction projects have stalled for lack of funds, while workers and students have either temporarily or permanently been denied allowances to which they are entitled to. All these, and yet the Ghanaian government (represented in this instance by President Mahama) and the state-owned Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, headline sponsors of the Black Stars, can afford to shell out an extra fee for players who get paid absurd weekly wages at club level anyway.
And, to think Ghana would even have to pay its sons for the honour of defending the national colours at an expense far less than what it seemingly costs even mighty England, Germany, Brazil, and the USA to do same, just so they can support their luxurious tastes while their less fortunate countrymen struggle to make ends meet by the day.
Admittedly, huge financial injections have been key in the recent successes of the country's senior national team.
That said, much as most Ghanaians would love to see Ghana feature at the next World Cup, they certainly would be ever so slightly more interested in paying their bills, putting food on their dining tables, and increasing their GDP by at least a few cents. Priorities, Mr. President.
Over to you.
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