Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama has said he will revive the Black Stars by prioritizing the inclusion of local players.

This decision comes after the disappointing performance of the Ghana national football team at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

Despite having aspirations to win its fifth title, Ghana was eliminated from the AFCON tournament at the group stage, securing only two points.

Mahama outlined the NDC’s strategy for rejuvenating the national team, emphasizing the crucial role of local talents in building a solid foundation.

He stressed the need for close collaboration with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to establish a formidable team.

Reflecting on Ghana’s lacklustre AFCON performance, he criticized the lack of focus on football development and pledged to nurture young talents from an early age. The plan involves channelling these talents into local teams to gain experience before potential international exposure.

We just came from the African Cup of Nations, and we performed abysmally disastrously. We performed abysmally because we are not growing our football, and so we are going to work with the Football Association to start catching them young from when they are young so that we can train them and give them to local teams. They will play, and gain experience before if they even want to travel abroad, they can travel,” Mahama explained.

The NDC leader emphasized the vision of building a new Black Stars primarily composed of homegrown and domestic players who have trained together extensively, fostering teamwork. Foreign players would later join to complement this foundation.

Mr Mahama argued that relying solely on foreign players, who might not have a history of playing together, is not an effective approach to success in international competitions.

“We will build the new Black Stars based on homegrown players, domestic players who have trained together for a long time and worked as a team. And then we will bring the foreign ones to come and blend with them. If you bring only foreign players, they don’t play together in their teams, and then when it is time for competition, you bring them and come and tell them to play; it won’t work,” he emphasized.

Mahama further elaborated on the NDC’s comprehensive plan to revamp Ghana’s football landscape, collaborating closely with the GFA.

“The core of the Black Stars must be made of domestic players who have played together for a long time. We keep camping them, and they keep practicing together. When we are going to a competition, we can bring some of the foreign players to join the domestic players, and you will see that we will have a better team. So, we are going to overhaul Ghana football in collaboration with the Ghana Football Association,” he added.

Ghana’s recent AFCON campaign included a defeat against Cape Verde and two draws against Egypt and Mozambique, resulting in another premature exit from the group stage for the Black Stars.