Ghana’s Search for another Black Stars Coach

Ghana Black Stars.
Ghana Black Stars.

By Abraham Donkor

Football has undoubtedly been the nation’s passion for a long period. It has on several occasions forged temporary alliances between political opponents and brought relief to many fans especially when the national teams or clubs annex trophies.

The Senior National Football Team, the Black Stars, the National Under 23 team the Black Metors, the Under 17 team, the Black Starlets and indeed Clubs like Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Accra Hearts Oak and Ashanti Gold have all brought joyous moments into the nation following their exploits in Africa and the world. These feats notwithstanding, there have also been some heartaches associated with the game, especially in recent years. After the Dede Ayew led under 20 team annexed the World Cup in Egypt in 2009, which was climaxed by a sterling performance by the Black Stars in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and subsequent appearances in the finals of 2010 and 2015 AFCONS, little could be said about the achievements of the National teams. The fortunes of the Black Stars witnessed a decline after the 2014 World Cup fiasco which led to the setting up of the Justice Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry that made a number of recommendations. It must also be noted that most Ghanaians for some years now have lost interest in anything synonymous with the BalckStars.

The Love for the team has sunk to its lowest ebb. The situation worsened with the revelations of Ace Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anasof Tiger IPI fame. Following the exit of the Normalisation Committee, the Kurt EK Okraku administration took over the reins of the Ghana Football Association, GFA.In its bid to reunite Ghanaians with football, the GFA coined the mantra ‘ bring back the love’.Try as the administration could, the recent abysmal performance of the Black Stars at the ongoing AFCON in Cameroon has dealt the cause a huge setback.

Indeed, Ghana’s early exit from the tournament is the worst performance by the Black Stars in the history of the tournament, returning home with only one point and finished last in Group C. Ghanaians will have to wait for some more years to end the AFCON trophy drought which currently stands at 40 years in the football wilderness.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports ought to be applauded for the swift manner in which it summoned the GFA for a meeting which backlash led to the dissolution of the Black Stars Management Committee and the sacking of Coach Milovan Rajevac who was appointed in September 2021 following the axing of C.K Akunnor who succeeded his boss Kwesi Appiah. Some reasons were assigned to the poor performance of the Stars.

These include; indiscipline, technical ineptitude, conflict of interest and wrong player selection. The GFA is set to announce the appointment of a new Coach to take charge in building a formidable squad to face Nigeria in the Qatar 2022 play-off in March.

One key attribute of a quality Coach is the ability to ensure discipline among his charges, and also manage player egos. In this regard, mention could be made of former France National Coach Aime Jacque who won the world cup with France in 1998. He dropped David Ginola and Eric Cantona who were at their peak at the time without blinking an eye due to indiscipline. Other Coaches who have ensured discipline among their ranks include;Sir Alex Fegueson, Jose Mourihno, Thomas Tuchel and Fabio Capello. The new Coach must be given the free hand to do his own selection without interference. Also, he must make overtures to woo some Ghanaian-born players in Europe who deserve to be part of the team.

Although some of them have declined invitations citing several reasons, they must be re-engaged, having put the right structures in place. Players such as Callum Hudson- Odoi, Tariq Lamptey, Inaki Williams, Mohammed Salisu among others are doing exploits for their clubs. Some players in the local league also deserve their chance. One thorny issue worth considering is individuals who own clubs, act as player agents, and who are executive members of the GFA. This scenario brings discomfort, and also have high tendency of influencing player selection. The names of Sellas Tetteh, Otto Addo and George Boateng are being speculated to be appointed as the stars’ new Coach. The new Coach will have a lot to prove, especially in the world cup play-off against a formidable Nigerian side which many Ghanaians dread, and have already raised their hands in despair and given their verdicts. The history they say gives us hindsight into the past, insight into the present, and foresight into the past. We must re-strategize and explore sustainable solutions to bring back the love. The time to act is now.



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