Former Ghana international Shilla Illiasu has spelled out the need to drive home patriotism into the minds of players who receive call-up to the national teams, with special reference to the Black Stars.
Since Ghana’s dismal performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup which culminated in players abstaining from training due to unpaid bonuses, the unflinching love thrown at the senior men’s national team has died down.
Football afficionados and connoisseurs have labelled the current crop of Black Stars players as unpatriotic – choosing money ahead of rain high the flag of the country.
Sharing his thoughts, Illiasu, who was a member of Ghana’s squad that played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup underlined the need to school players on the relevance of playing for the national team.
“The most important thing is before you invite a player to come serve the nation, you need to let him know that wearing the jersey itself is a source of pride,” Former Ghana international Shilla Illiasu told Tv3.
“But if the idea is to say have a player playing for Chelsea and you just bring him, he will not even know the importance of the jersey he is wearing,” he added.
The former King Faisal defender disclosed there is a huge difference between club football and international football, which has to be hammered on in the minds of the players.
“There is a difference between playing for your country and a club, so we should drum home that mentality,” said Illiasu.
“The competition is very important. Even if there is quality and there is no competition, those at the bench should be able to offer some stiff competition to those playing, and the one playing should also know that someone has equal quality so they can’t afford to make mistakes.”
Illiasu was thrown into the thick of affairs in Germany when experienced central defender Samuel Osei Kuffour was axed for his underwhelming display against Italy and the then Asante Kotoko defender never looked back, featuring in the last group game and the Round of 16 tie against Brazil.
Despite been tipped for the top, Shilla disappeared from the spotlight faster than expected.