James Kwesi Appiah has just been confirmed as the new head coach of the Ghana National Team, The Black Stars. Currently Manager of Al Khartoum FC, Mr. Appiah is expected to cut his stay with the Sudanese side short, in order to take up his newest appointment in his fatherland.
Kwesi Appiah’s appointment as Black Stars coach has brought to an end, the high speculations that it is either Frenchman Willy Sagnol and Cameroon coach Hugo Broos that would be picked for the position.
Details of Kwesi Appiah’s Appointment
The Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), on Tuesday February 28, set up a six-member special committee to see to the affairs of searching for, and recruiting a new coach for the country’s national team. It is this committee that gathered applications as well as all necessary credentials from interested persons (numbering about 95 in all), out of which Sagnol, Broos and Appiah stood out as the most eligible for the position.
However, after their interview and other necessary deliberations, Kwesi Appiah was approved as Black Stars coach on Tuesday, 4th April, 2017, during a meeting of the GFA Executives. According to the GFA President, Kwesi Nyatakyi who spoke to the media after the meeting, Kwesi was selected because he scored the highest marks out of the three interviewees. He assured that Mr. Appiah was chosen on merit and not because of his being a Ghanaian.
As already known, this is the second time Mr. James Kwesi Appiah is being saddled with the responsibility of being Ghana’s coach. The former Black Stars captain first coached Ghana’s national team from April 2012 to September 2014. The GFA President also expressed hopes that Appiah must have gathered more experience to make him a better coach now than during his past tenure.
Appiah’s appointment this time is a two-year deal, taking effect from the 1st of May, 2017 and ending in 2019. As earlier pointed out by the GFA, the new coach will also be in charge of the local Black Stars, as no separate manager will be employed for that purpose as was done in the past.
”Appiah will be handed a two-year contract and will start his duties on 1st May, 2017. He will also take full charge of the Local Black Stars,” a statement from the GFA read.
Sources say that former Cameroon assistant coach, Ibrahim Tanko will be the first assistant coach to Appiah, with Maxwell Konadu becoming the second assistant. Also, former goalkeeper Richard Kingson will replace Nasamu Yakubu as the goalkeeping coach, while ex-captain Stephen Appiah will take over from Sabahn Quaye as team manager.
Appiah left the Black Stars following a pathetic performance at the Brazil 2014 World Cup in which the team failed to exceed group stage for the first time ever, and as engaged in heated off-field disputes over salary/bonus payments, with some players sent home in the course of the tournament.
However, the now 56-year-old coach never left without leaving his footprints on the sands of the Ghana National Team. Appiah is credited with grooming young players and giving them opportunities to develop. It is noted that more than half of the players that make up the nation’s team currently, were given their debuts by him. For instance, Christian Atsu, Jeffery Schlupp, Mubarak Wakaso, Solomon Asante, Baba Abdul Rahman, Rabiu Mohammed, Razak Brimah and others were all given their opportunity by Appiah.
Despite the 2014 loss, Appiah became the first indigenous coach to qualify the Black Stars for the World Cup when he took them the Brazil tournament. It is the hope of the Ghana Football Association executives that he can still use his experience to propel Ghana to Russia 2018.
The Work Load Awaiting Kwesi Appiah as Black Stars Coach
The task ahead of the new Ghana coach is quite enormous, especially while considering the fact that the Black Stars have earned just one point from their opening two matches in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. With five points below group leaders Egypt, reaching Russia next year is apparently a greater feat for Appiah, than what he conquered before taking the national side to Brazil in 2014.
Aside the World Cup, Kwesi Appiah who won Coach of the Year Award in Sudan late last year, is also expected to help the nation end the 35-year African Cup of Nations drought by grabbing the AFCON title come 2019. Winning the African Cup even appears to be more important to the country than the World Cup.
Kwesi Appiah is replacing former Black Stars coach, Avram Grant, who left the nation’s team after a failed attempt to lead the country to victory in the 2017 African Cup of Nations.
Hugo Broos under Fire
Coach Hugo Broos who was among the three persons interviewed by the GFA for the Black Stars coach position, is currently having a tough time with the Cameroonian government as he has been summoned over his employment application in Ghana.
Available sources however say that Broos has blatantly denied ever applying for the position of Ghana’s coach, not to talk of being interviewed. #winks! Ghana on their own part should also thank their stars for not employing him, as they would have landed in Cameroon’s hot soup for breaching FIFA laws which protect Hugo’s appointment.