Adieu Agogo

Last week, we woke up to learn of the death of one of our compatriots, Manuel Agogo Jnr, at a prime age of 40.

This was unfortunate because he was a sports man and all things being equal, such people attain good ages in life, especially so as he was based in the United Kingdom where medical facilities are top notch.

Agogo burst onto the scene as a Black Stars player and gained instant popularity nationwide and was loved by all for most of his exploits on the field. His stint with the Black Stars was relatively short as it spanned 2006 to 2009 during which he played 27 matches and scored 12 goals.

At a point, Agogo was the poster boy of the national team and carried the flag of Ghana high. He became a household name and like David, women sang his praises but all this was to be short-lived as we woke up on January 29, 2015 to be hit with his sudden ailment. That was his last encounter with those who sang his praises and claimed to have loved him.

Not even the nation or the Football Association (FA) which he served appeared to have offered him support — material or otherwise. If they did on the quiet, then that was disingenuous on their part because they needed to let us know in order to motivate us that when we serve our nation, and fall into hard times, the nation will come to our aid.

In 2017, Agogo was featured on BBC, where he laid bare his pain and disappointment about those he called friends and by extension the nation he served so diligently.

Sadly, this neglect seems to becoming chronic on our part as a nation. As I write, there are several people who have served the nation in various capacities. Some are paupers and yet we have ignored them. There is evidence that some ex-Black Stars players have died and at their funeral, there was neither representation from the state nor the FA.

As would be expected, following the announcement of his death, there has been an outpour of grief and tributes even from the President, the FA and his colleagues in the Black Stars.

Elsewhere, to play for the national team is a huge honour and the benefits are equally huge. In the UK, for instance, sports personalities are often honoured with knighthood, to mention but a few, Bobby Robson, Alex Ferguson and Geoff Hurst.

This is not to suggest that Agogo should have been knighted, but the least we could have done was to support him during his ill health.

It may be too late to atone for our inaction in respect of Agogo but there are several Agogos around. We should not wait for the ultimate to happen before we support them. However, it is not late to look for his family and show some love. As the time-tested saying goes, a nation which fails to honour its heroes is not worth dying for.

Adieu Agogo, you served your Ghana well.

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