Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, has alluded to plans to build a new Black Stars team around local footballers if he’s elected President in the 2024 general elections.
This statement comes on the back of Ghana’s horrible showing at the recent Africa Cup of Nations where the team left the competition at the group stage briefly back to back.
The former President ascribed the Black Stars’ poor performance to the absence of colts football which develops footballers at the early stages.
“We just came from the Africa Cup of Nations, and we performed abysmally. We performed abysmally because we are not growing our football,” observed Mahama.
“Before we used to have the colts and every district used to organize its colts’ league and they picked the prominent players from there. We used to have the academicals where the schools played against each other and we picked the promising players from there before we come to U-17 and then all the other age groups. Unfortunately, all that has collapsed and so we are going to work with the Football Association to start catching them young so that we can train them and give them to local teams to get experience.”
Mahama was speaking at Bongo in a community engagement with youth and women groups, chiefs, farmers and students as part of the NDC’s “Building Ghana Tour”.
The community has requested the construction of an astro turf in the area for football development.
According to the NDC flagbearer, together with the Ghana Football Association, the NDC will build the Black Stars with homegrown players, not discounting the opportunity to blend them with some foreign-based Ghanaian players.
“We will build a new Black Stars based on homegrown players, domestic players who have trained together for a long term and work as a team and then we bring the foreign ones to come and blend with them. If you bring only foreign-based players who don’t play together, they play in their individual teams and then when there’s time for competition you bring them and tell them to play it won’t work,” he added.
“The core of the Black Stars must be made up of domestic players who have played together for a long term, we keep camping them and they keep practising together. So when it’s time for a competition we can bring some of the foreign players to join the domestic ones and you’ll see that we will have a better team.
He also emphasised the need to overhaul the football environment to help raise the standard of the senior national team once again.
“We are going to overhaul Ghana football in collaboration with the Ghana Football Association and all the football associations from the district coming up you’re going to be busy because we will send you resources so that you can hold football galas in your districts to identify the players for us,” he continued.
“We will give these players scholarships, we will send them to secondary schools, we will watch them grow and eventually they will end up in the national teams.”