The head coach of the Ghana national U-17 team, the Black Starlets, Paa Kwesi Fabin has raised concerns about the presence of football scouts and agents at the team’s hotel, adding that their presence is distracting his players.
Ghana has had a rather difficult campaign at the ongoing FIFA U-17 tournament in India, because despite qualifying to the next stage of the competition, the Starlets have not played their usual flamboyant style and brand of football, and have literally labored their way into the Round of 16 stage of the competition.
A scrappy 1-0 win over Colombia in the opening Group game was followed by a 1-0 defeat against USA. The Starlets had to wait until the last Group game against host India before qualification was sealed thanks to a 4-0 victory.
The Starlets were highly tipped to make an impression at the World stage following an inspiring campaign at the Africa Youth Championship earlier this year where the team finished as losing finalists to Mali. But the limp performances have led to questions about the psyche of the players, and the head coach of the team believes selfishness, borne out of the desire to catch the eye of foreign agents and scouts is taking a toll on his squad.
“It is something that really bothers us, because when they see that the scouts are around everybody wants to impress. Sometimes, when a player has the ball and somebody else is in a better position to score, they don’t pass to the one in a better position because everyone wants to score in order to be recognized. It is a big problem for us so we are hoping that the players will understand that it is only when you play well together that the agents or scouts will come and look for you and not when you are selfish or trying to do everything by yourself. That will not help anyone”.
Ghana are two time champions of the U-17 World Cup, but the last time they participated in the tournament was a decade ago so coach Paa Kwesi Fabin must hope his charges re-focus and attempt to recapture the glories of yesteryears.
Watch the interview below