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I have tried extremely hard not to wade into or comment about this brouhaha over the Black Stars captaincy.

My point is that does it deserve all the attention or the public uproar it has received thus far? Is it a classical example of stoking the flame or a genuine case of setting the records straight? Probably not, whichever way, Black Stars or Ghana for that matter is the biggest loser in the long run.

Ghana Black Stars annihilated the Walia ibex of Ethiopia by 5 goals to nil. It was a wunderkind performance from the Stars though the Ethiopians were afforded a lot times on the ball to play comfortably between themselves. Creditably, the Black Stars took their chances rendering a score line rather flattering.

The expectant and vociferous fans thronged to the field to support their darling national team, Black Stars. Never mention the drastic reduction in the gate fees! The hostile nature created by the supporters did not deter the Ethiopians from getting a foothold during the early exchanges. The field of play was a bit slippery as a result of the rainfall prior to match. This could have accounted for the upper hand the Ethiopians enjoyed from the onset.

However, when the Black Stars got their game going, they were simply inexorable. Captain Asamoah Gyan’s glancing header from the lively Thomas Agyapong’s inch-perfect cross opened the floodgate. For a moment, it looked like Raphael Dwamena’s goal, but Gyan got the final touch to steer it goal wards to take his total tally for Ghana to 50. He is now the fifth player in Africa to score 50 plus goals.

Only Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia), Hossam Hassan (Egypt), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) and Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroun) can match that remarkable feat or more. The first of his 50 goals came on 16th November 2003 in a World Cup qualifier against Somalia. Incidentally, Ghana walloped Somalia 5 – 0 just like they did against Ethiopia.

Few minutes later, the supporters were sent into frenzy with the second goal from John Boye. He went for a corner kick and the ball fell kindly in front of him, with his back to the goal, he swiveled his body and curled it into the top corner. What a goal that was? You would be pardoned to think a striker had scored that goal.

If the second goal was clinical, the third was superlatively magnificent. The debutants would not be outdone as Ebenezer Ofori got into the act. He received the ball from 30 yards out, ghosted past his marker and unleashed an irresistible pile-driver into the roof of the net to make it 3 – 0 to build an unassailable lead. The question on the lips of the supporters and Ghanaians thereon was how many goals would Black Stars score? Was it going to be a déjà vu or implosion?

The second half began just like how the first ended. Two more goals from Raphael Dwamena completed the demolishing exercise. Could his hisperformace be an attestation that Ghana will be in good hands should ‘Baby Jet’ A. Gyan hang his boots? Could this also be an illusion, a nine-day wonder? Well, time is the best judge.

The contentious moment of the game beckoned when Asamoah Gyan was substituted in 74th minute. Customarily, he was supposed to hand over the captain’s armband to his deputy in the person of Dede Ayew. To our utter dismay, he headed straight off the pitch without recourse to normalcy – that is to hand over the armband to Ayew. We are told his armband was customized and couldn’t give it out.

The unnecessary tension was refueled when the assistant coach was seen helping Dede to a different armband. Meanwhile conspiracy theories suggest that the Black Stars’ camp comprises of three factions; Asamoah Gyan’s faction, Dede’s faction and the neutrals. It is for this reason that the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu had to call and speak privately with the two of them when he visited them during training.

His head coach moved quickly to pour cold water on the act and had this to say, “We were all aware of the customized armband and knew he was not supposed to give it to anyone when substituted. Gyan is the captain of the side and could afford to get a customized armband especially when he was heading towards a historic feat.”

“The armband issue should not be taken too seriously, especially after the incredible performance by the Black Stars,” he justified. Does it fit? The action is disrespectful and condemnable. He can’t justify a wrong. A wrong is a wrong, even if it is next to a right.

The impudence has incurred the wrath of the world football governing body. Ghana is likely to be sanctioned for somewhat unnecessary action. FIFA is likely to punish Ghana for this avertible quagmire.

It is noteworthy to commend the Black Stars for that swashbuckling display. Coach Akwasi Appiah’s second coming couldn’t have started on a better footing. His blend of youthful exuberance with experience might revive our ailing World Cup qualification aspirations. Many, including me, would have lambasted him if he hadn’t gotten his selection right.

The positive news in the midst of the heightened tension in camp over the captaincy and the armband was weathered by the imperious display to whitewash the Walia ibex of Ethiopia. Competition for places in the starting lineup has been taken to another level. On this vintage performance, it is difficult to determine whom the coach would drop when Mubarak Wakasu, Kwadwo Asamoah and Christian Atsu return. Need I say anything more?

Source: Samuel Owusu-Ansah