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Nima Dreams: ‘Inadequate Pitches Causing Decline In Football Talents’ – Mohammed Polo

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Nima Dreams: ‘Inadequate Pitches Causing Decline In Football Talents’ – Mohammed Polo

Former Black Stars attacker, Mohammed Polo, has attributed Nima’s slow production of football talents to the inadequate pitches in the community.

The ‘Zongo’ area has struggled to boast of players of his ilk since his retirement in the early 90s and it has become a major concern with many talents abound.

Recently though, Ajax star, Mohammed Kudus, Majeed Ashimeru of Anderlecht and Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, who also plies his trade in Belgium for Eupen, are making headway in Europe but they needed Academies – Right to Dream, WAFA, Aspire Academy respectively, to smoothen their path to the top.

A town with a population of over 600,000 people has just two football pitches – Kanda Cluster of Schools Park and the Kawokudi Park – and both are under massive pressure with a plethora of teams and schools training on it for exercise or competitions and Polo, a Ghana legend born and bred in Nima, is worried.

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“The moment the field started diminishing. They were building houses and whatever it is so the interest of football dropped and these young ones who are supposed to have that sort of field to enjoy have no place to go. It is very difficult.” Polo said.

This angle is a highlight in the upcoming Joy News/Joy Sports documentary, ‘Nima Dreams.’

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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Ghana Football: How To Dribble Around Nationality Rules

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Ghana Football: How To Dribble Around Nationality Rules

The definition of a Ghanaian is very strict for those wanting to qualify to stand as a member of parliament. If you have ever carried a passport or national identity of any other country apart from Ghana, be ready to be subjected to long scrutiny in the courts.

An MP once not only lost his seat, but was even jailed because he could not prove he had renounced a previous British citizenship before he filed his papers to be elected into parliament.

A current MP has just been cleared by the High Court and deemed to have been legitimately elected, after almost two years of litigation, as the court found she had renounced an earlier Ivorian citizenship.

Yet another MP is still struggling to be allowed to stay on after a court found he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship before standing and getting elected.

And yet, look at what is happening in Qatar, where carrying the passport of another country poses no hindrance to wearing the Ghana colours and playing for the Black Stars.

Black Stars fans in Qatar dressed up in the stadium for the match against South Korea on 28 November 2022
Ghanaian fans are praying the Black Stars defeat Uruguay on Friday to make it through to the next round

Indeed, you do not need to have been born in Ghana, ever visited the country or speak any of the languages.

If you play good football and catch the eye of the Ghanaian coach, that is quite enough, as long as you have some ancestral tie to the country.

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We do not have the money to lure athletes to change their nationality to compete wearing our national colours as some Middle Eastern countries are able to do.

But years of travel by Ghanaians have ensured that there are generations of young people around the world who can claim a link to Ghana through their parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts.

From underhand to everyday

I have been asking myself why I was so outraged by the Zola Budd incident back in the 1980s when a young, white middle-distance South African woman was given a British passport to enable her to participate in British colours at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Her claim to British nationality was said to be through a grandmother and it allowed her to compete at a time when South Africa was banned from international sport because of its racist policy of apartheid.

It all felt so underhand and contrived in those days. Now changing nationality for sporting convenience is an everyday occurrence and does not make headlines.

Black Stars player Inaki Williams looks at a ball during a match against South Korea in Qatar - 28 November 2022
Inaki Williams plays for the Black Stars while his younger brother plays for Spain

Probably the most spectacular example in the Black Stars team in Qatar is Inaki Williams, or the “Bilbao-born Inaki Williams” as the news agencies insist on tagging him.

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Of course he is Ghanaian and the fact that his younger brother Nico is playing for Spain does not make the blindest bit of difference.

Some might recall that this is not the first time there are two brothers playing at the World Cup, where one plays for the Black Stars and the other for a foreign team. Remember the Boateng brothers? While Kevin-Prince Boateng was in the Ghana team, his brother Jérôme played for Germany against the Black Stars in 2014.

For us here in Ghana it is not the number of sudden Ghanaians playing for the Black Stars that we are excited about. The talking-point really is the sheer number of players in foreign teams who could equally be playing for Ghana.

There is a Cody Gakpo playing for the Netherlands. Nobody needs to tell you that with a name like Gakpo, he belongs among the Black Stars.

Then I heard of a Richie Laryea in the Canadian team – he could be representing the Black Stars and signing autographs for children in Accra.

And why is someone called Ethan Ampadu, part of the Welsh Red Dragons recently knocked out by England, playing for anyone but Ghana?

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Just as there can be no dispute but that Mohammed Muntari, who made history by becoming the first player to score for Qatar at the World Cup, should be playing for Ghana, the country of his birth.

They all must have their reasons for not opting for the Black Stars, but the word out here is that a purely diasporan Ghanaian team would easily qualify to play at the World Cup – and could be coached by a certain Otto Addo, the current Black Stars coach.

He might have a Ghanaian-sounding name and his parents might be Ghanaian, but he was born and raised in Germany and carries a German passport.

He might not be acceptable as an MP in Ghana, but the emotional health of all 30 million of us Ghanaians currently depends on him and we just know and accept he is Ghanaian.

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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World Cup 2022: ‘Where There Is Lionel Messi, There Is Hope For Argentina’

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World Cup 2022: ‘Where There Is Lionel Messi, There Is Hope For Argentina’

Argentina’s vast support gathered in their thousands at Qatar’s Energy City adjacent to the vast Lusail Stadium with only one man on their minds as they faced World Cup jeopardy.

Lionel Messi has carried the hopes of this football-mad nation for most of his career but there was an added layer of tension as Argentina confronted old rivals Mexico in an ear-splitting atmosphere on the stage that will host the final.

Argentina knew defeat would effectively end their World Cup after two games following the embarrassment of the loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener. Messi knew this would mean the major honour that has eluded his grasp in a glittering career would be forever out of reach.

Messi was, once again, shouldering the burden of Argentina’s expectations – and once again he delivered by pulling out a piece of trademark magic when they needed it most to change the course of an attritional game, and perhaps even change the course of his team’s World Cup in the process.

The clock showed 64 minutes. Each passing second turned up the pressure valve on Argentina and, in turn, on Messi. He knows any Argentina failure on this stage, justified or not, can be painted as Messi’s failure.

He had been on the margins but took centre stage to devastating effect as Mexico fell victim to the magical left foot that has broken the hearts of so many opponents.

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One touch delicately killed the pass from Angel di Maria. The second touch arrowed a low finish into the bottom corner past the outstretched left arm of Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Amid an explosion of noise from Argentina’s fans, Messi ran towards them with arms outstretched in that familiar celebratory pose. He looked highly emotional with the relief and release, engulfed by team-mates who knew the man they rely on most had delivered again.

When the crowd of players dispersed, Messi stood in front of the light blue and white-clad supporters pumping his arms in exultation. He knew what it meant to them. They knew what it meant to him. Mutual ecstasy.

The greatest players deliver when it matters so it should be no surprise Messi produced again.

Until that moment, it had not been an easy night for Messi against Mexico, who clearly relished the idea of putting the skids under an Argentina side heavily tipped to lift the World Cup in this same Lusail Stadium on 18 December.

Messi had been marginalised by Mexico. He could not exert any influence in a first-half morass of stoppages and infringements, the 35-year-old often at walking pace looking for a patch of space where he could escape close Mexican attentions.

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It was when a football match eventually broke out in the second half that Messi flourished with the characteristic darting runs, the quick passes and, of course, the stroke of genius that broke the deadlock.

Argentina relaxed thanks to Messi, this team’s security blanket, and Enzo Fernandez added a glorious second with a curling right-foot shot after 87 minutes.

It sent their fans in the 88,966 attendance, the highest at the World Cup since the 1994 final in Pasadena, home happy – well at least those who did go home because many stayed on in one stand for almost an hour after the final whistle paying homage to their heroes, and one hero in particular.

Messi had brought life to Argentina’s World Cup. They still need victory against Poland, with their own national icon in striker Robert Lewandowski, to be certain of going through but real belief has surged through their ranks thanks to one stroke of Messi’s left foot.

He knew just what was riding on this game.

“We can’t give up now,” said Messi. “We have all the finals to play – we can’t make mistakes. We knew we had to win, that another World Cup was starting for us, and we knew how to do it.”

Messi certainly knew how to do it.

He knows this will be his last World Cup, the one elite stage on which he has yet to collect the prize. Messi suffered the heartbreak of defeat by Germany in Rio’s Maracana in the 2014 final. This was the closest he has come to laying hands on the World Cup.

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Messi’s career has brought four Champions Leagues, the Ballon d’Or seven times and 10 La Liga titles at Barcelona. His time at Paris St-Germain is still regarded as something of a footnote but even there he has won a Ligue 1 crown.

The World Cup is the missing link and this is Messi’s last chance to claim it.

Argentina did not entirely convince, have yet to show the form that has them ranked number three in the world, and the prospect of a painful exit still remains when they face dangerous opponents in Poland.

For now, however, Argentina’s World Cup show is back on the road because where there is Lionel Messi, there is hope.

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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‘That Chapter Is Closed’ – Cristiano Ronaldo Declares His Relationship With Manchester United Is Now A Closed Chapter

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‘That Chapter Is Closed’ – Cristiano Ronaldo Declares His Relationship With Manchester United Is Now A Closed Chapter

Cristiano Ronaldo has declared that his relationship with Manchester United is now a closed chapter

The 37-year-old, who mutually agreed to terminate his contract at Old Trafford after his row with the club, made history on Thursday night, November 24, by becoming the first man to score at five World Cups, his 65th-minute penalty helping Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 at Stadium 974.

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Ronaldo was named FIFA’s Player of the Match, which meant he had to attend the ensuing press conference.

He stayed in the room for 132 seconds and answered one question but, for the first time, publicly addressed his situation.

‘It is important we won,’ said Ronaldo, shaking his head when he heard United’s name mentioned. ‘It was a week that finished this chapter. It is closed and now I want to start with the good foot. We started here, we won. I want to help my team and all the rest of the squad.

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He added: ‘This was a beautiful moment – my fifth World Cup. It is very important to win. We know in these competitions, the first match in crucial. But, also, the world record, the only player to score in five World Cups makes me very proud. The team made a good result in a tough game.’

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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