Mr. Adams Abdul Salam, Member of Parliament (MP) for New Edubease, has urged Ghanaians to support the Black Stars in their world cup play-off games against the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The senior national team, the Black Stars would on Friday, March 25, face off with their Nigerian counterpart, the Super Eagles in their first leg of the 2022 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup final playoff at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
The Black Stars would subsequently honour the second leg four days later in Nigeria.
Mr. Salam, who made the appeal in his statement on the floor of Parliament on the impending Ghana’s crunch world cup play-off games against Nigeria, noted that coming on the back of what could aptly be described as a disastrous Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign earlier this year, this encounter was crucial for Ghana on several fronts.
“First, Mr Speaker, having failed to qualify for the as FIFA World Cup in 20-18 in Russia, it would be heart-wrenching and devastating for us to miss out on this year’s tournament slated for Qatar,” he said.
“Secondly, Mr Speaker, it is evident and has almost become a cliché when we say football is what binds us together as a nation.”
Mr. Salam noted that anytime the Black Stars were playing such important games, the whole country rallies behind the team to attain victory.
He indicated that even though the joy, emotional, and psychological benefits that victories of Black Stars bring Ghanaians could not be quantified in monetary teams, there were also financial gains when the nation qualify for the World Cup.
He said for instance, by qualifying for the World Cup, the country was guaranteed a whopping $2.5 million as participation fee.
“Mr. Speaker, the other fundamental reason is that there is no rivalry on this continent as marked as ours with our Nigerian brothers, albeit a very healthy one,” the MP said.
“We contest with our Nigerian brothers on almost every facet of life, including music, education and even the most trivial, who prepares the best jollof.”
Mr. Salam said however, the biggest rivalry between two sister countries stems from football.
“Mr. Speaker, our brothers from Nigeria, have not recovered from the Abedi Pele’s-inspired famous Senegal ’92 AFCON semi-final win over the Super Eagles,” Mr. Salam said.
“Also, when we hosted the AFCON in 2008, we handed them a painful 2-1 quarter-final defeat.”
He said this crunch World Cup final playoff allows the Black Stars to assuage the pains of Ghanaians football lovers and appropriately appease them following their grave disappointment at the just ended AFCON in Cameroon, where the Ghana finished last in its group.
“Mr. Speaker, these are the reasons we all need to cheer the Black Stars and offer our unflinching support to the team so that collectively we can qualify for the World Cup,” he stated.
He reiterated that the only worrying aspect of Ghana’s preparation towards this crucial game was the seemingly lack of openness in player call up for this important encounter.
“Mr. Speaker, the tradition is that, few weeks to every international football match, selection would be announced to the public,” Mr. Salam said.
“Mr. Speaker, this not the case for this game because until yesterday, the squad for the game had officially not been released.
“Mr. Speaker, I do not know the reason behind this decision, but I hope it is in the best interest of Ghanaian football fans.”
Mr. Salam said with proper player selection, preparation and mindset, there was no reason Ghana could not beat Nigeria and make it to Qatar this year.
MPs from both sides of the House in their contributions to the statement urged Ghanaians to rally behind the Black Stars for victory.
Mr. Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu, in his contribution, called on Ghanaians to pray for victory for the Black Stars, also suggested on the day of the match, MPs who had the Black Stars’ jersey could wear them to the chamber, just to show their support for them.
Mr. Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader, in his contribution, said he agreed that MPs could wear something on the day of the match that would send a signal (that they support the Black Stars).
He urged the Black Star players to have tactical discipline and to exhibit teamwork, so that at the end of the day they would be victorious.
Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, accepted the suggestion that Members of the House would wear something depicting their support for the Black Stars.