REVEALED: Why Arab and Muslim countries will oppose Avram Grant as Ghana coach

Published on: 17 November 2014
REVEALED: Why Arab and Muslim countries will oppose Avram Grant as Ghana coach
Ex-Portsmouth's manager Avram Grant gestures before their English Premier League match against Burnley

Ghana's likely to sign Israeli veteran Avram Grant as new national coach - but he might be barred from competing in Arab and Muslim states many of whom the Black Stars play regularly against and have much support.

Grant's Israeli nationality has meant that an otherwise unremarkable changing of the guard at a struggling African national team could in fact become a political minefield, and has shone a spotlight once again on ongoing disaffection within the Muslim world against citizens of the Jewish state.

Israeli nationals are barred from entering most Arab countries, along with some other Muslim countries such as Iran, since most do not recognize the existence of an independent Jewish state because of its treatment of the people of Palestine.

That could make competing on the international scene tricky for Grant - both in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament as well as any future World Cup and friendly matches.

Ghana plays regularly friendlies against countries like Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran and the rest from the Muslim world

The awkward situation may be new for Ghanaian soccer fans, but for Israeli sportsmen and women it comes with the territory. Remember what happened to John Paintsil when he waved the Israeli flag while playing for Ghana at the 2006 World Cup.

Citizens of Arab and Muslim states who are bitterly opposed to Israel and because of the plight of the people of Palestine under Israel's watch - regularly withdraw from matches with Israelis in international tournaments - but even in more "moderate" Arab states disaffection is commonplace.

Earlier this year Dutch soccer club Vitesse left its star defender behind to play a match in Abu Dhabi because he was Israeli.

And it isn't just soccer. Late last year an Israeli chess team was forced to compete anonymously, also in Abu Dhabi, after being forbidden to compete under the Israeli flag.

Just a month previously, the International Tennis Federation suspended Tunisia from the prestigious Davis Cup after the north African country forced its top tennis player to withdraw from a match with Israel's Amir Weintraub.

In 2009 Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was denied entrance into the United Arab Emirates to play in the Dubai tennis championships.

But the GFA president said the former manager of London's prestigious Chelsea Football Club and the Israeli national team has come up with an unspecified "alternative" solution.

"He has brought an alternative way of dealing with it. There is a satisfactory arrangement to arrest his threat. Very soon, in a matter of months, we should clear that."

Although the precise nature of that solution is not yet clear, sources confirm that it is unlikely to include a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal.


  • Tanko
    says: 5 years ago
    Laka mama!
  • Tanko
    says: 5 years ago
    I dont get these moslims and arab people, what about other Muslims who terrorize other christians. What if they are also not allowed to Christian countries. "hypocrite's" I call them. when they maltreat other religions there are no demonstration but when a their citizens are maltreated then they complain. Who are those who burn churches. Wat if other Christian countries refuse to accept Muslim in their countries.
  • Kof(Atlanta)kofi(Atlanat)kofi(Atlanta)
    says: 5 years ago
    I don't support any form of restrictions, however, the person who made the first post is clearly showing his ignorance. Isreali are not Christians. If anything they don't believe Jesus unlike Muslims. It's just point of correction, but I love them like I like any other religion. They are good people people so no problem hiring grant, however, I don't think his resume is all that encouraging. He coach Portmouth and West Ham and both teams were relegated. For Chelsea, he took over and couldn't win anything either
  • Jojo
    says: 5 years ago
    This is the most useless article I have ever read. I wonder how some journalist think to even publish such nonsense. Are we playing football or doing politics. Kwesi Nyantekyi the GFA president, is a Muslim himself. He doesn't see anything wrong with hiring a Jewish coach. About half of the Black Star players are Muslims, they have no problem playing under a Jew. Why then should some hungry and desperate journalsit make such analogy? Religion should be seperated from politics since religion is a matter of faith. Saudi Arabia deals with Israel on a daily basis through their common ally USA. Why should we sit in Ghana and talk just like that?
  • Abubakar
    says: 5 years ago
    Jojo you de smartest dude here big ups,
  • kofi
    says: 5 years ago
    I must say that I am very disappointed in the writer of this article. The issue raised by him should not be entertained in any manner. Ghana soccer has gone a long way for Ghanaians to give credence to such a trivial issue. Why should those or some Arab states have problem or issue with us if we are to appoint an Israeli as our coach? In any case apart from those African Arab countries which are really football nations no one can tell me that those in Asia are better football nations than most of our African nations, if they decide not play against us we have nothing to lose. If they have an unsolved issue with Israel, that is their problem and they cannot involve Ghana in that. Football is different from politics hence football matters must be settled on the field of play and political issues must be settled politically. Shame on the writer of this articles my advice to you is write on issues which will help promote football in Ghana and to a larger extent African and not on issues which will inflame anger and religious rifts.