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Is Kwesi Appiah's retention as Black Stars coach justified?

Published on: 23 February 2013

The squeaky sound of the door turned my head in its direction, I more than hoped Daniel won’t show. Unfortunately it was cute face behind the door.

Don’t get me wrong, Daniel and I are cool, but with his elder sister, Araba, keeping me on wait forever, I wasn’t in the mood for Daniel’s not so small talk.

Hmm! The things a guy has to endure for a “small” date. “Uncle Nii, can I change the channel? “ Yes Danny boy, change it as many times as you wish, so long as you don’t ask your never ending questions” Well, I didn’t quite say that, but I thought it. Rather I exclaimed “No, Danny boy!” “Why uncle Nii? Daniel protested. “Because I am watching a press conference by the Ghana Football Association (GFA). “What are they saying? Danny further enquired “A lot, I replied. “Like?” That was Danny, not knowing when to stop.

“The coach is staying” I indulged Daniel. “Oh but he failed” Daniel asserted with a rather concerned look. “Will keeping him help?” Danny further probed. ‘You this 8 year old with big questions!” once again, I only thought it. Just then, the lights went out! And Danny boy ran to his room. I sighed heavily and “patiently” waited on the couch for Araba. ‘Women!’

As I sat there, my thoughts wandered and naturally, to the retention of Kwesi Appiah as Black Stars coach. Danny’s question; ‘willkeeping him help?’ kept ringing in my mind.

In the stillness of the night, I considered the justification of keeping him.

Forgive Me, I am Sorry!

No, that’s not Araba apologising for being overly late, it’s the import of what Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah sought from the nation, for supervising Ghana’s abysmal performance at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in South Africa.

It was not so much that Ghana placed fourth, but it was in the manner Ghana were outplayed in most of the matches and how she rode on luck that irked many.

This was a team which was considered a favourite based on recent history; semi finalist in the last three AFCONs and 2010 world cup quarterfinalist. Ghana went in with a huge pedigree.

But teams like Cape Verde and Burkina Faso reduced the famous Black Stars into an average team. It was a sorry sight. And rightly, Ghanaians called for Appiah’s head.

So, when the GFA met the press for a briefing on happenings; pre, during and post AFCON, the issue of Appiah’s retention or not, was big on the cards, even though there was enough indication that the GFA were going to retain him.

The FA president was reported to have said “We believe the solution does not lie in firing the coach and the technical team”.

Now isn’t it fair to assume that the FA itself realised the shortcoming of the coach, but preferred to keep him for X Y Z reasons. What are these reasons? We were not told.

But bottom line the FA believes Appiah possesses the ability to lead the Black Stars in the next immediate assignment; the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers against Sudan, Zambia and Lesotho.

The FA believes whatever inadequacies Appiah exhibited at the AFCON, he would redress by learning from those mistakes and qualify Ghana to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, thus his retention. But is it justified?

Trial by Error 

I have heard several analysis made as to the justification or otherwise of Appiah’s retention. Prominent amongst those reasons is that, Ghana hires and fires too many coaches and that we need to give them time on the job.

Another one, the sentimental one, is that we have hired too many foreign coaches in the past and that we need to stick with our own kind.

Through all these discussions and analysis, the most important factor; tactical ability, seemed to have been glossed over.

The question that we should have all been asking is that, does Coach James Kwesi Appiah, possess the tactical ability to lead Ghana to the land of Samba?

Now, to answer this critical question, let’s review the last couple of games the Black Stars played to enable us come to a firm position. Appiah himself admitted in the press conference that he made tactical errors, which ones? He didn’t say.

Indeed, like each and every one of us, we are human and we are fallible, so we all commit errors from which we learn.

Yes, and I do not mind if Appiah realised that he made a mistake playing midfielder Kwadwo Asamaoh in a left back position, and yes I do not mind if he realised that considering Asamoah Gyan’s form, he should have taken an extra striker to compete for the striker’s shirt instead of 3 strikers, of whom one was injured throughout.

Indeed, I really really do not mind if Appiah realised that he should have altered the formation or exacted from Agyemang Badu more tactical discipline or yet still, that he should not have paired 2 similar central defenders (Both workmanlike with less organisational ability) or that he wasted a spot by taking a natural left back in Richard Kissi Boateng and not trusting him enough.

Indeed, I still do not mind if Appiah has realised that he could have man managed the Ayew brothers much better to the benefit of the nation. 

These are all errors he can correct, yes he can. But my biggest concern is that, in the games played under his belt, I am still yet to be convinced about his tactical plan or strategy for games.

Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t it be a grave concern how Ghana were totally dominated in the games? It should, but even that, when we were being dominated, what were the innovative tactical changes that Appiah made to get Ghana back on course?

Imagine that Ghana is playing Sudan away, and Sudan is leading 1-0, our world cup hopes dimming, do you trust that Appiah could turn it around?

When you have answered these questions honestly and truthfully, am sure you will then be in a position to say emphatically whether Appiah’s appointment is justified or not.

Indeed, when Ghana plays Zambia in the last group game, we would know definitely; with the benefit of hindsight, but for now, his retention is more like a trial by error, left to chance, just like the power crises Ghana finds itself in.

The door squeaked again and someone spoke, “Nii, Am ready, let’s go, Araba nudged me, I couldn’t see her properly, to assess if my wait was worth the while, it was still dark, and very much like Appiah’s retention, it would all be clearer when we the lights return.

Source: 90 Minutes Newspaper

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This article has 28 comment(s), give your comment
  • Analyst says:
    February 24, 2013 05:56 am
    Like Burkina Faso and Mali, Sudan is going Whip your ass!
  • Awwenkwe says:
    February 24, 2013 05:51 am
    Humble yourselves Ghanains and come to Lagos and learn the ART OF FOOTBALL...Nigeria reigns suprem aks Cameroun a country the whole of Africa revered.You better watch-out cos Sudan is gona come with the same Burkin Faso mentality and you'll fall in your backyard....a word to the wise!!
  • mojahadine says:
    February 24, 2013 03:41 am
    There is nothing Ghana can learn from Nigeria when it came to soccer. What they have achieved is commendable but not to the extent of being extraordinary. It is only a point of notice. Ghana can come back, but only with a smart coach.
  • mojahadine says:
    February 24, 2013 03:30 am
    To you JOE ATISO, the last time I checked only the white coaches that you so dislike have taken the Black Stars to the world cup. Since you do not even know the history of Ghana's dismal record of trying to qualify for the world cup despite its success in African football, I will encourage you to go back and check how many times we tried to qualify to the world cup with our so-called local coaches. Your lack of facts and perspective coupled with your erratic incoherent combination of low level nonsensical English is mind boggling to say the least. I am challenging you to use your brain for once to find out who coached Ghana into its first ever world cup. As far as your beloved Akwesi Appiah is concerned, we have all seen enough of his incompetence, there is not much to say anymore about him, Keep on trotting.
  • SNOW DEMON says:
    February 23, 2013 11:54 pm
  • Don says:
    February 24, 2013 12:06 am
    This is an interesting piece that clearly demonstrate how tactical bankrupt AA is, and the clueless GFA backing him to stay on, we are now like a blind man walking, we don't know where we are heading so we would have to rely on hope and pray to God we don't crush, I still don't understand why we blacks try to put people who are not qualify into positions, give them time yet they lack the basic competency to do the job, give someone job based on their ability, compentence and skills. With AA in charge we are DOOM!!
  • Yankeeman says:
    February 23, 2013 11:07 pm
    this Nyantakye and Sannie Darra has hijack the Gfa as if it is their personal property.Their decisions and behaviour is leading Gh football to the abyss whiles the govt comes in with retoerich to brainwash Ghanaians to accept mediocre at all cost.Akwesi Appiah is tactically blind and he is going to caurse more pains to Ghanains with his tactical incompetance and ineptitude,since he became the blackstars coach he has been chopping and tinkling with team using the team for experiment. For me i have promise to vote against this govt and have remove from my facebook wall for being an Ndc man becos the the govt has faile to impress on the fa to sack the coach their decision to retain him and reason given does not hold any water.imediately this team was given to appiah some of us has always held the view that Appiah can not manage the blackstars and it showed on how he handle the Ayews by giving them a raw deal at the detriment of the state,the Gfa is really toying with the team and Senegal is a classic exemple for us on the suicide mission we have chosen with regard to Ghana football.
  • JOE ATISO says:
    February 23, 2013 09:42 pm
  • Riquelme says:
    February 23, 2013 09:18 pm
    Continue living in d past, was ghana given d trophy 4 reaching d world cup quarter final? No. Have u ever witness celebration of a trophy dat's won by ur black ass in ur life? No. U last won d nations cup 32 years ago, when u are still unborn. U won all ur trophies when it was participated by 8 teams in africa. Pls, Stop calling us ur rival, we nigerians look at u guys as brodas not rivals. There is a big big big difference btw ghana and nigeria in all aspects of life, dat is why both in oversee and africa as a whole we are tagged "THE GIANTS OF AFRICA" isn't it?
  • GH BOI says:
    February 23, 2013 08:17 pm
    hey zambezi or watever you call yourself,what do you know about Ghana and Nigerian rivary in football..infact what do you know about African football poking your nose in matters that doesnt concern you...better go and support your 1day clown team and leave BIG BOYS to some respect dude...VAMOS KARAYO....
  • Big brother...Nigeria says:
    February 23, 2013 08:21 pm
    @ghana blackass.... When you talk about African titles, you pride urselves as 4x winners' stop kiding and be realistic' the cups u won are not afcon titles' can u win the 21st century title of 16 teams? Certainly no. Pls be humble and give respect to whom it is due. Nigeria are reigning king of African football' and they deserved some respect from you guys...
  • Big brother...Nigeria says:
    February 23, 2013 07:52 pm
    @blackass fan...Here u go again, what research do know about soccer? When did ghana had their debut in the w/cup?, that's when Nigeria, cameroon, Egyt e.t.c and other top African soccer nations had graced the world stage severally, and by the way are ur black ass the first Africa reach quaters? If no' then what is the big deal, i guess it was a fluke though. In 1994, the Super Eagles was ranked the 5th best soccer nation in world football, which is still an African record yet to be equalled by any' and not in the next 50 years. At ur best u are 19th. Can u no see that ghana and nigeria are not at per...
  • Analyst says:
    February 24, 2013 05:56 am
    Like Burkina Faso and Mali, Sudan is Whip your ass!
  • kimco says:
    February 23, 2013 06:48 pm
    ooooooo black star fan u and ur wc quarter finals wei di3rrr. Hmmmm
  • Black stars Fan says:
    February 23, 2013 05:57 pm
    You should be happy and honored that Ghana compares herself with Nigeria. I don't know how old you are but GHANA TAUGHT NIGERIA HOW TO PLAY SOCCER. Go back and research that. Has Nigeria played at WC quarter-final yet?
  • kwame Hamza...texas says:
    February 23, 2013 05:22 pm
    @mojahadine...Nigeria and ghana are two great soccer nations without question, it's not just bout rivary nor which is greater but what can we learn or borrow from each other to enhance our football as a region and as continent as a whole. The truth is that nigeria has gone back to do their home well, and we all saw the result and if they consolidate on the mometum , they will surely rule Africa and win more Afcons. Don't contradict me' Now has Nigeria done that is unique? They have brougth in a coach who has mental thoughness and tactical awareness who has man management skills. Two... The coach was courageous to inject in players who are hungry on the bases of merit unlike as it use to be, hence that team we saw at afcon were fighters. Now what Gfa should do is to give the coaching to the right man, as they say'' He who the cap fits let him wear it' hence i say black stars needs a competent coach. Two players selections should be based on merit, players with the right attitude nad comittment..Surely black stars will shine high above the skys of Africa.....on love
  • Goalkeeper Adagokpe says:
    February 23, 2013 05:00 pm
    This is by far the most genuine analysis of the coaching situation with the Ghana Black stars. Hopefully the GFA will take these points on board and answer the questions posed in the interest of Ghanaians and supporters of our prestigious football team al over the world, to ascertain the credibility and genuineness of the retention of the current coach.
  • Zambezi says:
    February 23, 2013 03:59 pm
    @mojahadine.. Why is it dat u ghanaians like rubbing shoulder with nigeria? Nigeria is better than ghana when it comes to soccer. We promise u that u will not go to d world cup... Up chipolopolo!
  • mojahadine says:
    February 23, 2013 02:22 pm
    If even the black Stars qualify for the world cup, who is actually going to coach them against the best coaches in the world? As we all saw, with this guy coaching the Black Stars I will not be surprised if we concede large goals.
  • Rosky says:
    February 23, 2013 01:41 pm
    What will happen to kwesi nyantakyi, de blkstar management team and kwesi appiah if they fail to qualify us to de world cup in brazil? Can we arrest them for causing financial loss to de state? cuz i dnt knw y they r still retaining kwesi appiah, dis man is tactically and technically bankrupt, he cant study games and effect right changes, his changes r bad to de game. I dnt knw y they r not listening to our advice
  • Mojahadine says:
    February 23, 2013 01:37 pm
    Do you guys think that Akwesi Appiah was retrained just because we wanted to give our own enough chance to build a team? Unbelievable, with GFA there is always the reason for everything and it might not be about football. That organization is fraught with incompetency from top to bottom, elections for even the GFA boss is filled with what you can do for me when you are elected. There is no rational explanation for what anyone does within the walls of the organization. To make my point this guy has been an assistant for years behind some of the best coaches we have had in recent years but rather than learning along, he only collected paychecks. We have had Sillas Tetteh in that same situation for years and he learned the ropes very very well and that showed in his exploits that put Ghana on the world map as the first African team to ever win the under 20 world cup champ. He should have been given the opportunity to coach Ghana but instead the racism, nepotism and cronyism that I have been talking about reared its ugly head, when Nyantakyi decided to offer the job to his Ashanti boy. What makes it even difficult is the pathetic group of technical advisers he had assembled who do not seem to have any capacity to help him when the spotlight is placed on him when we are down. This decision to keep him is making rounds in the hallways of FA's around Africa and it is going to bite Ghana in the butt. All our upcoming worldcup opponents are licking their chops. Very soon we shall be the butt jokes of these country's who have been looking for the opportunity to stick it to us. Whenever your number one rival wins the AFCON, you have to take notice and adjust because between Ghana and Nigeria, its all about the bragging right of who reign supreme in African and West African football, and for Nyantakyi to see this and continue to allow this inferior coach to lead the Black Stars should be considered a treason. Now instead of Ghana having 5 AFCON championships and Nigeria 2, we now have 4 and Nigeria has 3. This alone should be a cause of concern to all persons in Ghana that view this as a threat to our football glory.
    February 23, 2013 01:13 pm
    With this clueless coach,Gh should forget about the world cup.Bye Bye Black Stars
  • nickj says:
    February 23, 2013 10:29 am
    Even if we need a local coach, we need a competent one not Appiah. He lacks all the qualities to even pass as a avwerage coach. Ltes forget the world cup
  • Riquelme says:
    February 23, 2013 09:15 am
    U have to be patient, dis guy needs time to showcase what he has got to offer to ur national team. Also, sacking him will cause a chaos and a great setbacks to ur team as u are fast approaching a world cup qualifiers.
  • Shywee says:
    February 23, 2013 08:14 am
    This is by far the most sensible argument i have read on Appiah's appointment. Most people on here are either blinded by patriotism,tribalism, nationalism or racism. Question is does Appiah have or shown any clear tactical and strategic awareness in all games played? Can he or has he made any game changing substitutions? Is his player selection been unbiased? Has he shown any motivational capability and abilities? Has he shown any strong man management skills? How much time is more time for a coach who has been with a team in different capacities for over 5 yrs? Does he need to embark on new team building or groom and fine tune our last two afcon and WC teams? Does he enjoy complete decision making control or being dictated to? Honest answer to these will help clarify where Ghana is going pro 2013!!!!
  • mukmin says:
    February 23, 2013 07:33 am
    He should have been fired its a shame Tetteh has not been promoted to handle the senior team after what he achieved in Egypt he's still coaching the satellites, that's very unfair. We have to put our trust in God cos that's the only way we can qualify for Brazil 2014
  • Chukwe says:
    February 24, 2013 06:12 am
    Only yours were mini tournaments comprising of only 6 countries competing,now imagine you add ten more countries no wonder its beyond your reach.
  • Joojo says:
    February 24, 2013 04:17 pm
    The piece exposes the GFA OF BEING ALSO CLUELESS AND INCOMPETENT!! For, how can a blindman lead another blindman??? The ex-com. of the GFA is SOOO INCENSED WITH CRONYSM,TRIBALISM, CORRUPTION AND INCOMPETENCE, that they are also lamed by their failures! THEY ARE CLUELESS AND SO NEED A "COVER-UP" IN CASE OF DESEASTER (Like failure to qualify for WC 2014) A competent coach would immediately expose them! The debate still continues!