Feature: Kwesi Appiah One-year Tenure As Black Stars Coach Under Review

Posted On Tuesday, 9th April 2013

Ghana coach Akwasi Appiah is one year into his Black Stars job

Ghana coach Akwasi Appiah is one year into his Black Stars job

By Ameenu Shardow

On April 9, 2012, James Kwasi Appiah was appointed the substantive head coach of the Black Stars on a two-year contract – one year on, has he met your expectations, aspirations or has he disappointed?

It was seen as a promotion for the man who had worked as assistant coach for six years.

On this day last year, many were heralding the appointment of the ‘local’-who was one-time captain of the same side and had to replace dismissed Serbian Goran Stevanovic.

A Ghana FA statement read: “The Ghana Football Association has appointed James Kwesi Appiah as the substantive head coach of the Black Stars.

“The Executive Committee of the GFA confirmed the appointment of the former international at a meeting in Accra on Monday.

“The meeting was called to discuss the head-hunting exercise undertaken by the GFA to find a permanent Black Stars coach.

“Appiah will meet the Executive Committee of the GFA on Tuesday, 10 April, to formalize the deal.”

However, a year on, and I am not too sure as many will have that same sense of pride and joy that characterized Appiah’s appointment.

A 7-0 thrashing of Lesotho in his debut on the Black Stars bench in the 2014 World Cup qualifier immediately justified the Ghana FA’s faith reposed in the soft-spoken personality.

He was however brought down to earth in a 1-0 defeat to Zambia in the following week in Ndola.

Kwesi Appiah had just started work so there was very little to criticize then.

A draw, a win and a loss to China, Malawi and Liberia in a friendly, first leg 2013 Nations Cup qualifier and another international friendly respectively followed.

The Black Stars most efficient performance under Appiah up to this time was perhaps Ghana’s 1-0 away win to Malawi that confirmed Ghana’s place at the 2013 Nations Cup to be staged in South Africa.

Many got the sense that the team was peaking at just the right time to deliver a belated Nations Cup trophy in South Africa – but it wasn’t to be.

A disappointing 2-2 draw with DR Congo in the opening Nations Cup fixture, a hardly convincing 1-0 win over Mali and an easier 3-0 victory over Niger summed up the not too convincing performance of the Black Stars at the group stage of the competition.

But still there was hope the team would improve as they moved into the business end of the tournament.

It however appeared the contrary, the team scraped through a 2-0 win over a dominant Cape Verde side in the quarters only to lose on penalties to Burkina Faso.

The team never recovered from the defeat to their West African neighbours as they proceeded to lose 3-1 to Mali in the third-place play off.

It was at this stage that the call to have Appiah sacked intensified with many of the critics raising issues over his tactical prowess and player management skills.

And though admitting to making mistakes at the Nations Cup, the 52-year-old was maintained but with some level of skepticism.

Appiah has since responded with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Sudan in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers but this is hardly enough to sway the larger jury out there in his favour.

Many of his critics are anxiously waiting for another blip, perhaps a draw or even a loss in the remaining three games in the World Cup qualifiers to come out with the ‘I told you so’ adage.

If that happens, the ex Asante Kotoko player I presume will be more than happy to tender in his resignation but that will be a minor consolation to the majority Ghanaians who would by then be lamenting a missed opportunity to make a third straight World Cup finals – a situation whose spillover effects will be so dire one cannot imagine.

What do you think about Kwesi Appiah’s first term?

Do you think he can lead Ghana to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil?

What advice can you give to Kwesi Appiah after his one-year as substantive?

Let’s Have Your Say in the comments box below.

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