After missing out on the last edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia four years ago, the rest of the world, and the Continent of Africa in particular, would be expecting the Black Stars to make a strong impact as they go to Qatar for the Mundial in November.
This is highly obvious in the face of the footprints and enviable feat the Stars have achieved in their last three appearances from 2006, which marked their maiden appearance, through 2010 to 2014.
During the maiden appearance in Germany, the four times AFCON champions were drawn in a group of death, made up of Italy, USA and the Czech Republic.
The Azuries disciplined the debutants with a painful defeat, but the Stars made amends and proved their mettle by beating both USA and the Czech to progress to the next stage of the competition.
Their impressive achievements in the tournament put a spotlight on the Stars, and raised high the flag of Ghana around the world.
Appearing for a second time four years later in South Africa, the Black Stars made a greater impact with a flamboyant display that nearly propelled them to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Having gained much experience from their previous two appearances, hopes were high for the third consecutive appearance in Brazil. However, the Stars could not secure a single win in a group made up of USA, Portugal and Germany.
Some bizarre and off the pitch circumstances characterised their campaign. Though Ghana managed a respectable 2-2 score line against the mechanical Germans, who eventually won the cup, the off the field distractions led to the Stars bowing out in a shambolic manner.
All these antecedents are illustrations that the Black Stars of Ghana have not been mere participants in the previous world cup appearances, but they have always been a real force to reckon with.
The Stars failed to qualify for the last edition of the world cup in Russia. Perhaps, diminishing returns has set in and this was to be expected, as most of the experienced players were fading out for others to take over.
Following that disastrous qualifying campaign, adequate preparations were made and the Stars qualified at the expense of old foes, the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The zeal with which the players sacrificed their all and played their hearts out to beat Nigeria to qualify did not just endear them to the hearts of Ghanaians, but it also brought back the love for the gallant Black Stars.
Like several thousands of disappointed Ghanaians who watched the Stars in the last two international friendlies against Brazil and Nicaragua, The Chronicle is equally concerned with their inconsistent performance.
In the first pre-World cup trial match against Brazil, the Stars appeared absolutely disorganised and could not play to any rhythm, suffering a 3-0 defeat.
The Chronicle is very much alarmed not just because Ghana has lost to Brazil but due to the fact that the Stars could not play as a team that is going to the world Cup in a few months from now.
In our honest view, the team lacked direction and clear cut formation, as we looked so miserable in all departments of the game.
As a practice match, one could say the defeat afforded the technical handlers the opportunity to fine-tune by plugging all the loopholes exposed by Brazil.
The focus shifted to our second trial game against Nicaragua, a weaker side ranked 139th by FIFA, where the Stars were expected to redeem their image.
Rather, the game exposed the Stars the more, as a dogged display by the opponent proved how vulnerable our team is, ahead of the world cup.
The poor performance put up by the Stars has set the pace for questions to be asked about the technical competency of head coach Otto Addo, who prior to picking up the Black Stars job, had no experience in coaching a national team.
However, there is the final opportunity for coach Otto Addo to fine-tune his team with a final friendly against high-flying Switzerland next month.
In our sincerest opinion, the performance of the Stars in the last two friendlies was not satisfactory, as the team prepares for the final showdown in Qatar, in Group H made up of Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.
If Otto Addo does not pull his weight, the FA must not hesitate to hand Chris Huston the opportunity to lead us to Qatar.
Football is indeed the opium of the Ghanaian masses and, therefore, the Mundial cannot be the grounds for any “ma try ma kwe”, (to wit ‘I will try and see’).Read Full Story