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