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2014 World Cup: Why coach Kwesi Appiah must think long and hard

Published on: 24 March 2014
Kwesi Appiah

The tag ‘man of the moment’ is most apt for Kwesi Appiah, coach of the Black Stars with barely three months to the epic World Cup in Brazil.

Not only does he hog the media lately for his actions or inactions but also because he has become the great white hope for the Black Stars. So it’s sink or swim.

Bombing out of the World Cup in the first round will be a very numbing moment for many Ghanaians and local coaches will not be a shoo-in at the helm of the Senior National Team in future engagements.

However, it’s a great feeling for the Stars to be among the 32 Samba party-guest list.This makes a third straight appearance at the mundial since Germany 2006.

Back-to-back qualification can only be a triumph of hard work by the handlers of the team . Our local coaches have played second fiddle to their Caucasian counterparts since Ghana’s independence, so Kwesi Appiah deserves immense commendations for upsetting the apple – cart.

It is also recorded that soon after independence the late Ohene Djan signed George Ainsley,an Englishman who made history as the first foreign coach in Ghana.

The relay coaching that started with Ainsley took close to six decades for the baton to get to Kwesi Appiah in 2014, for this very reason, it’s time to make a case for local coaches by running the home stretch to the World Cup powerfully to improve upon the Stars sterling outing in 2006 and 2010.

He must be ennobled for being the forerunner of local coaches to grace the finals .

But there is work to be done, this is the task of shaping the team into a well-oiled juggernaut that will clear all opponents it comes across at the world cup.

It is also true the Black Stars have become the crown of the African campaign per their doughty outing in the 2010 World Cup.

Therefore the recent outing against Montenegro in Podgorica becomes a false start, having been pipped 1-0 by the Brave Falcons, a lowly team that acquired full FIFA membership in 2007.

A win could have spared the Stars blushes and served as an ego boost in the build-up to the big event.

Now we remain conflicted about our chances against the USA, Germany and Portugal when the tourney kicks-off finally. Second guessing the Stars performance in Brazil is on, and Kwesi Appiah has further muddied the waters by his alleged overtures to his former boss Milovan Rajevac , a decision that has deepened rumblings of discontent in the body politic.

Coach Appiah should be reminded that he is a potential World Cup winner henceforth. In case he wins the World Cup, the victory would be recorded as a watershed for local coaches, that is the more reason why most Ghanaians hate the thought of any paleface or white expatriate advisor around him before or during the tournament.

History shows that the continent that hosts the World Cup produces the winner most of the time, according pundits. A feat Africa failed to achieve in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Football is full of uncertainties, Brazil can also disappoint on their own continent and Africa can also win its first World Cup far away in South America.

It then behoves the coach to look within and stick to his kind in order not to spoil the African party in the event of Ghana winning the World Cup.

No expatriate coach must take plaudits, to state it bluntly. Going forward coach Mr. Appiah should painstakingly cherry pick and retrofit the final squad with the following notes in mind. Our next friendlies against the Netherlands in Rotterdam and Honduras is a must win.

It’s barely three months to the world cup and the possibility is there for things to be turned around, this is supported by instances in football where teams have been transformed with barely three months to the World Cup. A case in point is Cameroon ,they exited the 1990 Nations Cup in the first round but became the first African country to reach the last eight of the 1990 world cup in Italy.

The same can be said of the Black Stars in the 2005 Nations Cup in Egypt. Defeat to Zimbabwe necessitated our exit in the first round and Ratomir Dujcovic became unpopular despite the fact that he was untouchable for qualifying Ghana in 2005 for the World Cup in Germany 2006.

But support and confidence reposed in him by the FA President Kwesi Nyantekyi saw him transform the Stars into a winsome side that put smiles on our faces in Germany. Milovan Rajevac also gave us a lot to smile about four years on in South Africa 2010.

Both Dujcovic and Milovan had to run the gauntlet of the sporting press, fans and many more Ghanaians because a vote of no confidence was leveled against them and their final squads prior to the final clincher.

Despite all the animus at the time, the 2006 and 2010 teams excelled when they were least expected to do so. Credence can then be given to the fact that team work, determination and absolute motivation are capable of spurring on football teams.

Mr. Appiah should take a cue and not be obsessed with spent old guards, but rather blood his final squad with fresh limbs. The home truth is that the rookies in his team will be more fired up to excel than the old guards who may be gunning for their second or third mundial.

The coach must also psyche his charges to draw strength from the power of ‘mind over matter’ and have self- belief that they can win the World Cup. “Those who win world cup don’t have three legs” This is a timely goad from Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Minister for Youth and Sports. He said this at a press briefing in Accra a week ago.

Inferiority complex has long been the bane of the African game at the world cup, we therefore entreat Mr. Appiah to work on his personal confidence level and motivation and that of his captain, Asamoah Gyan because their level of confidence and determination will rub off the whole squad during the tournament.

The Stars can get third time lucky in Brazil and qualify for the semi-finals,the final or even win the World Cup for Ghana and Africa .Exiting in the group stage will draw too much fire from Ghanaians and the future of local coaches will be bleak.

Unlike Dujcovic and Milovan who abandoned the Black Stars after Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 respectively, due to extreme castigation, Kwesi Appiah can expect the worse because he is Ghanaian and has nowhere to go if he tumbles in Brazil.

To avoid this, coach Appiah! go ahead take a long, hard look at your final squad and bring home the bacon lest your last hurray after Brazil 2014.


This article has 10 comment(s), give your comment
  • Sterlingz says:
    March 24, 2014 11:48 am
    did i hear AA saying he needs no advice from milo?..if is true then congrats..wishing the blackstars all the best.
  • Fiifi, Berlin says:
    March 24, 2014 12:31 pm
    Nice article, but a lot of times it pays to have a look at the piano or organ keys and their effects separately and combined! Food for thought?
  • Ghana is my land says:
    March 24, 2014 12:35 pm
    I love this development, if its true.Be ur own man .Go black stars.
  • keith from germany says:
    March 24, 2014 03:39 pm
    AA has done well by being the first indegenous coach to guide ghana to the wc and we are say thank you to him but that does not prevent some of us from questioning him of his coaching tactics. Playing at the wc is a different ball game because our opponents are not called lesotho sudan zambia or malawi. We are playing against top teams like germany and portugal. AA tactics hasnt impressed me at all because
  • keith from germany says:
    March 24, 2014 03:46 pm
    Because when the going gets tough you dont see any tactical change of game. Thats the problem AA has. Secondly he dont know how to use some of the players at their right positions. If AA wanna go far then he gotta call active players,players who are fit and can go the long distance. No injury proned player must be selected. Players who are not getting playing time at their club must be omitted from the squad. If AA plays his cards right i will be the first person to salute him. Constructive critic brings the best out of a person.
  • Jibrin Mohammed Muntaka says:
    March 24, 2014 03:47 pm
    Another article saying it as it is.Everybodys worry now to psych the bligured and terrified AA whose self confidence level is at its lowestin d build up to the W/C The best way to do it is to deny him Milovan and encourage him rather to have self confidence,period.AA u can do it!Konadu u can do it!Take a cue from Keshi.Take a cue from Sellas Tetteh.Its all about guts .Believe!Believe in yourself. Don't u see the whole Ghana is behind u? Please don't allow Milo to just come and take the glory.Those short courses u are taking right now should be enough to guide you and ur backroom staff.Somebody,please advise AA.
  • 21guns says:
    March 24, 2014 04:19 pm
    ÀA DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH HIS TACTICS OR HIS TECHNICAL PROWESS, What team can beat Egypt with a huge margin, what coach in African football history has beaten Egypt with such margin I hundred percent believes in ÀA TO DELIVER IT. Ghana will beat Portugal with ease believe me
  • selfmade says:
    March 24, 2014 09:30 pm
    A coach without proper tactics cannot qualify Ghana to the WC!! He has one but sometimes tactics alone doesn't win a match!! Tactics alone doesn't make a great coach but luck too!!
  • keith from germany says:
    March 24, 2014 09:50 pm
    Selfmade if u are not able to beat zambia lesotho and sudan or evenegypt then you dont deserve to be at the wc. Ghana with its quality of players had to qualify from this group and there is no two ways about it. So selfmade u mean akwesi qualified ghana to the wc due to sheer luck but not based on his tactical game plan? Okay now i see from your perspective that AA is riding on luck to succeed. Believe me beloved brother selfmade,playing without tactics is like driving without a valid drivers licence. You are lucky if the cops dont grab you but if there grab you woe betides you.
  • selfmade says:
    March 25, 2014 01:49 am
    @ Keith.....we should tried and give appiah some credit mate.. He beat Lesotho home and away but zambia who happens to be the then defending champions with the coach who won them the afcon couldn't beat Lesotho at home!! Again, Renard who is now coaching sochaux, were completely KO and annihilated by the Sudanese in Khartoum by two unanswered goals but Zambia were saved by the boardroom points but appiah went to Khartoum and annihilated this same Sudan by three clinical goals! Sudan is not an easy place to win matches becasus of the tough conditions... After topping our group,AA again completely destroyed the Egyptians in Kumasi and I want pple to watch that match again and see how appiah was tactically on top of Bradley!! His formation was spot on, sub's were spot on and he was in total control!!! A coach who has been able to qualify Ghana to the WC thru a tough WC qualifying campaign cannot be called a tactless coach!! His tactics worked thats why we qualify from our group!! Finally, u can have all the finest players on the planet in your team, we u have a poor coach, the players alone cannot do nothing EXTRAORDINARY so that argument about our players quality helping us to qualify is neither here nor there!! Baecelona with mesi, eto, henry and ronaldinho couldnt gel because the coach was confused as to how to use them!! Luck is a BIG FACTOR!