The veteran may have shown genuine penance and sought forgiveness, but it would be hard to argue he deserves anything more
By: Sammie Frimpong
That Sulley Muntari, having finally apologized for his grave error at the Fifa World Cup two years ago, should be forgiven isn’t debatable. It would be senseless, even cruel, not to treat the man kindly given all the emotion and effort that apparently went into his publicized letter.
Invite him to rejoin the Black Stars, though?
Not really, dear — and here’s why:
PAST HIS PRIME
Muntari, per any reasonable argument, is no more the player he once was. Why, if the former Liberty Professionals star were, he wouldn’t have left the brighter lights of Europe and settled for a club in the Gulf (please don’t put Asamoah Gyan in that pitiful bracket, reader)!
The Muntari who proved such a force in his heydays (circa 2004-2010?) is simply no more and what remains, a 31-year-old wearied veteran, is of little use to anyone.
GHANA HAS MOVED ON
The Black Stars Muntari was last part of and the current group may not be markedly different in composition, yet they’re not altogether similar. The present setup now breathes refreshingly new air — or at least that’s what its contrite members would have us believe — not the hitherto inhaled toxic poison of selfishness which manifested its worst symptoms at the 2014 Fifa World Cup. And while many in Avram Grant’s squad may still revere Muntari and even consider him a friend, it’s hard to see where he’d fit in a team that’s only expected to get younger. With the likes of Afriyie Acquah, Mubarak Wakaso, Agyemang Badu, Rabiu Mohammed, the returning Kwadwo Asamoah and fresh entrant Thomas Partey all contesting midfield slots, Muntari would hardly have a look-in.
TOO WRONG, TOO OFTEN
This, of course, isn’t the first time Muntari has sunk to his knees, apology in hand. Aged just 20, he got dismissed from the Ghana camp for indiscipline ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games and reacted with a rash retirement decision, only to reverse it shortly thereafter. Five and nine years respectively later, he pulled off other successful comebacks after being forced out.
And now this — so, well, you’d excuse me for thinking Ghanaians have been ‘fooled’ once too often to give a damn about the 2010 Uefa Champions League winner anymore.
C’mon, guys: who apologizes only two full years after a perceived offence? How long should it take one to acknowledge misbehaviour on his part?
I mean, just how sincere could that be?
You really can’t expect anything more than a pardon, Sulley; Pappy Kojo wasn’t wrong, you know.
Okay, so let’s say Muntari has been forgiven. Now what?
Bring him back into the Stars’ fold?
Well, not quite, if the post-Brazil 2014 Commission of Inquiry’s recommendation that Muntari and fellow offender Kevin-Prince Boateng not be recalled to the team in the future for disciplinary reasons has any force. And, oh, it does!