I am happy to say they deserve every dollar, endorsement and adulation they get.
After years of hard training under youth and senior coaches, management and mentors they attain levels of fitness and dexterity that bedazzle grown men and give young ladies flights of… fancy.We may never dribble like Pele, Messi or Ronaldinho nor net the ball with power or precision like Ronaldo or Ronaldo (Brazilian and Potuguese for clarity); we may never outwit the opponent like Osei Kofi, Mohammed Polo, Augustine Arhinful. Odartey Lamptey or Abedi Pele but watching our favourite club we may play and score precariously, celebrate on the pitch with excitement and race to enjoy that sweet upsurge in adrenaline even whilst we remain glued to our seats. Every player and their management team deserve their pay for delivering this excitement and diversion from our mostly mundane even dreary lives.Each player or official representing their nation anywhere, however, does so first and foremost for national pride. I have witnessed this in basketball, cricket, football, rugby, soccer and more.
Poor boys from deprived backgrounds as well as millionaires with multiple product endorsements yearn to play for their national teams. They weep when left out or substituted. Some have even been known to provide the kit for the entire team or donate their earnings to charity.It is an honour and a privilege to serve on your national team.
Whether you come from a war-torn country or a self-inflicted poverty-ridden republic, a recently bombarded state or well managed wealthy nation, it is a great honour indeed for self, family and the community in which one was raised notwithstanding the fact that it presents a great platform for showcasing one’s personal prowess to the world in a manner oft unseen at club level. I must add that the benefits are multiple too; players have been known to secure better club contracts, spark a real career or revive a flailing one, gain friends and partners beyond their dreams and product endorsements that make common folk scream.
When money becomes the only motivation for serving on a national team, whether you are a street sweeper, waiter, sportsman, presenter or minister, you are bound to fail. Honest Wealth is a by-product of diligent work; inspiration and lots of perspiration, creativity and audacity, not deception, blackmail nor robbery.
Perhaps our generation has failed to learn this. Sankofa! It is never too late to learn and do what is right.
You can have the money yet lose the admiration of those who spurred you on to your temporary greatness. There are people in our communities with lots of cash to splash but none who find them admirable nor worth mentioning in a conversation on respect nor industry.
It is worthy of mention that we support whosoever represents our various nations on the world stage. We do this for love of country and national cohesion, not because we believe those who represent us temporarily are more human than the lot who taught them, cared for them, feed them, train them and heal them when they are unwell.
We shower praise on our national team because they represent what we so crave that so eludes us in national life; UNITY, COHESION, SERVICE ON MERIT not by party affiliation, SELFLESSNESS, TEAM SPIRIT and NATIONAL PRIDE.
For a fleeting season, we stash away those colours, ugly emotions and insults that divide us politically to embrace the red, gold, black and green that unite us emotionally.
We love what OUR NATIONAL TEAM represents and we love it dearly but the people we love and respect the most are oft modest, inspirational, creative and selfless humans, not sportsmen and actors nor rock stars and oligarchs.
These only entertain and bemuse us for a while and are soon gone with the wind; replaced by new leaves that we support again till they too wither and are replaced with the coming of Spring.
They hold our imaginations and are held dearly in our hearts if they help us fulfil those deep needs listed above. Even in their failure we find comfort and consolation, for they like us are only human.
But they the chosen few are expected at the least to place LOVE FOR NATION above all else and mirror this to the elders and children alike, that they too may be nudged into waking from their slumber and attempting some heroic deed for God and Country.
The love of God, the love of nation, the love of mankind and the love of good empowers dwarfs to perform like giants.
The love of money is the root of all evil. It is now the root of national disgrace. Ghana Black Stars or The Republic of Ghana: The value is the same.
From this deep slumber, we must wake.
My heart bleeds.