The Technical Director of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) told Pulse Sports on Monday that local coaches are competent enough to coach the national team, but continue to be handicapped by various stakeholders who have little or no confidence in their abilities.
“You people (fans and journalists) are not confident in local coaches,” the outspoken Akenten told Pulse Sports in an interview. “It’s almost everybody, and it is not good.”
“I think our coaches are okay,” he added. “Except you people don’t believe in them. Given the time and given the respect, I’m sure they will deliver.”
The coach was also disappointed with Ghana’s seemingly entrenched taste for expatriate coaches. The Black Stars have been coached by 24 expatriates in its 57-year history, more than twice the number of local coaches (11) during the same period. The current manager, Avram Grant, who took over in late 2014, is from Israel.
“I’m very sure if I changed my skin colour and probably my name changed from Oti Akenten to another name, I’ll definitely get the job,” the coach joked sarcastically.
He was full of praise for Kwesi Appiah, the last Ghanaian coach to handle the Stars (2012 – 2014). Appiah, whose team attained popularity for their free-flowing attacking as well as the knack for scoring a lot of goals, became the first Ghanaian coach to lead the Black Stars to a World Cup, qualifying for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The 56-year-old, who assisted Serbians Milovan Rajevac and Goran Stevanovic before ascending to the top job, also managed to reach the semi-final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, losing to Burkina Faso in extra time.
“We will always use Kwesi Appiah as a point,” he said. “He was in charge of our team and when you compare, what has changed between then and now?”
The former King Faisal and Hearts of Oak coach debunked the widely held notion that local coaches lack the authority to be their own man.
“If you’re not building their confidence, it comes like that,” he explained. “But you’ll attest to the fact that it’s not everyone (who is prone to influence and bullying), because it was not easy for people to go through Kwesi Appiah. I think he did his work, he did his part and he did what he was supposed to do. It’s just unfortunate that we could not continue with him, but I’m not blaming the system too.”
He expressed the desire to see another Ghanaian in-charge in the near future.
“It’s a matter of time,” he said. “Probably, we’ll have our time again. But we’re ready to support anybody who comes, just as we’re supporting Avram Grant.”