The Ghana Football Association has done something laudable for a change! They have just hired a promising coach to handle the Ghana national football team. Arguably, Kwasi Appiah was the best candidate because of his extensive experience and track record, having served the GFA and the Black Stars in various capacities. However, the best reason why the GFA re-hired Appiah was to right a wrong.
In an ideal world, the coach for a Ghanaian football team should be a Ghanaian! Mind you, on all four occasions when Ghana won the African Cup, a Ghanaian manager was in charge of the national team.
A favourite Ghanaian “fairy tale” of mine is about CK Gyamfi, the coach of the Black Stars in the 1963 episode of the African Cup of Nations. Gyamfi, the only African head coach in the tournament, led the Black Stars to lift the cup, confounding all the football pundits at that time. CK repeated this extraordinary achievement two years later, proving beyond reasonable doubt that a Ghanaian could indeed be a successful manager of the Black Stars.
So engaging Appiah is a good idea, and I would like to commend the GFA for that decision. Given a fairly good salary, the necessary authority and power, and the moral support, Kwasi Appiah will become a manager that we can all be proud of.
Ghanaian football fans will never forget the disappointment of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Ghana presented a formidable team of experienced players who had played together for a considerable period. In spite of the high expectations, the highly-rated black stars couldn’t make it to the second round.
But the disappointment was nothing compared with the embarrassment of being the laughing stock of the world after ex-President Mahama was compelled to take a most unusual step to avert a player boycott hours before the final round-robin game against Portugal.
In our digital age, the idea of airlifting millions of dollars in cash to be disbursed to players in a tournament seemed a bit bizarre. What about the video of the black star kissing his hefty bundle of cash, or the match commentators ridiculing our beloved Black Stars on international TV? These strange happenings provided an excellent material for comedy, and comedians all over the over the world were having a field day at Ghana’s expense.
The causes of the players’ disaffection and underperformance stemmed from the gross mismanagement of GFA and government officials who planned and executed the World Cup campaign.
Ghanaians expected a few heads to roll, especially after the Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry report was released. That did not happen.
The GFA desperately needed to pin the blame on someone, so they picked on the easiest person, Coach Appiah.
Then, to justify the sacking and make Ghanaians quickly forget the shame in Brazil, the GFA hired a super coach in the hopes of winning the very next African Cup of Nations. Surprisingly, the new coach, Avram Grant, hardly brought anything new to the table. No wonder he failed.
Meanwhile, the unfair dismissal of Appiah must have weighed heavily on the GFA’s conscience. They had no good reason to let him go in the first place.
So when the “Avram Grant plan” did not play out as expected, it was a perfect opportunity for the GFA to rectify a mistake, by recalling Appiah.
In case you got me wrong, I’m not by any means suggesting that the key to Ghana’s football success is to have a Ghanaian coach! If the GFA has not learned any lessons from FIFA 2014, then no coach on the planet – local or expatriate – can succeed in helping Ghana recapture her football glory.
By making a smart choice of coach this time round, the GFA has scored a great goal. Well done!
Written by: Theo Acquah
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