Kwesi Appiah will take us nowhere!

Appiah – Stars head coach

Appiah – Stars head coach

GHANAIAN football fans whose emotions are linked with the success or failures of the Black Stars must have gasped in disbelief when Head Coach Kwasi Appiah told ‘Ghanaian Times’ last week that he would need more than two years to build a solid Black Stars.

Even before this announcement, some of us have been asking when his so-called team for the future would materialise.

Having realised his contract is coming to an end, Appiah has now found that he would need more time to build a solid team. What has he been doing, one may ask, for the two years he has been fiddling with the Black Stars, which now finds itself 7th in Africa and 52nd in world football rankings?

The Black Stars was already a strong brand before Appiah took over and did not need experimentation or rebranding after three consecutive World Cup appearances.

Following the Black Stars loss to Kenya a couple of weeks ago in the AFCON qualifiers, I was amazed, on the one hand, and humoured on the other, about some of the reactions I read.

First, came the assessment of one of the assistant coaches about the attitude of some of our players and the fact that that some of them will be excluded from the team if they persist with their negative attitudes when called for national duty.

Then came what was described as a “hint” from Coach Kwasi Appiah that he was going to recall Asamoah Gyan and the Ayew Brothers back into the team. Most ridiculous of all comments was the “refrain” from the legendary Abdul Razak about calling more local players into the Black Stars.

I have a couple of questions before I come to what I think is the problem with our darling Black Stars. Since when did the managers of the Black Stars realise that some of the players were not giving off their best?

Secondly, has Coach Appiah finished with his experiment of fielding a different team for every match since his second coming to the Black Stars, an experiment which has led to Ghana dropping our prized players and giving opportunity to minnows with the excuse of building a team for the future?

Thirdly, for Abdul Razak, which local players is he talking about; the same players who have been responsible for empty stadiums during our local league matches, or the players who are just praying to be taken away for a pittance to Europe or China for 500 Euro a month?

Or, is he talking about the same local players who have not been able to take our champion clubs beyond the group stages in the CAF Champions League in the last 10 years or more? If you ask me, the problem with the Black Stars, at least for the moment, is the Black Stars Coach.

For starters, I must repeat, because I have said it before, that I do not believe in

Coach Kwasi Appiah, because I have never had confidence in a national football team coach who, apart from having played in the domestic league of his country, or even for his national team, has not merited the opportunity of playing football in one or more of the top leagues of Europe, before going on to obtain his professional coaching licence.

My reasons are fourfold. Firstly, I have observed that, players, and coaches, who are domesticated, lack the full options of knowledge and confidence that playing in the super leagues of Europe brings along to their character and attitude. Secondly, they are normally not abreast of current and modern playing and training regimens of the game.

Thirdly, they tend to be intimidated by the presence of their top players who play in Europe and elsewhere, especially those who are confident or have a strong attitude (Ghanaians call it ‘arrogance’), by nature, because these top players naturally expose the coach’s weaknesses, either impliedly or expressly when working with them.

The result of this scenario is frustration on the part of the coach, a feeling which is likely to lead him to take rash decisions on these players to hide his own weaknesses, and this eventually impacts negatively on the stability of his team.

And this is the attitude Karim Zito is talking about.

On this topic of ATTITUDE of footballers, let us note in our discussions that these “boys,” as we call them, are adult and professionals in their own right. National team managers and other officials often demand perfection and results from them as if they owe the rest of us something by being born in the motherland.

It is pertinent to note that most of these players are educated and nurtured by their hardworking parents who see them through from toddlers to the time they are spotted by team scouts and invited to camp.

Attitude, negative attitude that is, does not form in a vacuum! It begins from somewhere; it spreads around and gestates until it becomes very visible with bad results.

In other places, we often read about players who complain and threaten to ask for transfers because their coaches do not give them enough first team playing time and their managers react positively immediately after.

After the World Cup, some players, like Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial, both of Manchester United, irritated their manager by overstaying their off-duty times and refused to join pre-season training programmes (Martial stayed away to see his girlfriend having their first baby) – but have all been reintegrated into first team play.

Players of some big clubs, have been known to go to the press with what they think of their coach’s tactics or training style, relationship with players and so on and nothing happens to them. On the contrary, Management of these clubs have sometimes taken action to replace coaches based on the feelings and attitude of players.

For example, in the last few years, Chelsea players have obviously been responsible, by their lackadaisical performance, for the sacking of Jose Mourinho in 2016, and Antonio Conte in 2018.

From current developments in Manchester United, it is looking obvious that Mourinho is likely to exit England, for the last time, at the end of the current season because his players have started complaining about his negative tactics and his relationship with them.

When players do not have a vent for their frustrations, they tend to show in the best way they know which is to lose matches to make the coach unpopular, since it is he who eventually will bear the brunt.

It is possible the more experienced players in the Black Stars do not like Kwesi Appiah’s experimental ‘in today, out tomorrow’ experimental policy and that is what is showing in their attitude on the field of play.

BY BOB AFRICANUS KOOMSON  

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