Here to stay: Jamie Lawrence in talks for permanent Ghana deal


Ghana’s AFCON fitness trainer Jamie Lawrence has revealed a deal is in place to make his role a permanent one after the Black Stars’ successful AFCON tournament.

In an interview with Football365.com the ex-Bradford man spoke on his role in the Black Stars setup at the tournament, and his future with the side.

On the tournament itself and Ghana’s campaign he said:

“…it [AFCON 2015] was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience. We weren’t expected to do well and after the opening-game defeat it was a great achievement from the boys…”

“We just kept building momentum and to be fair the boys really bought into want we wanted to do. In the final against Ivory Coast, we were the better team and they were hanging on. They had some big names out there, but they were playing for penalties; we just couldn’t get a goal.”

“But the passion for the game out there was phenomenal, it’s just on another level. The singing before games and players praying in the build-up – it was just a huge eye-opener.”

On getting the fitness trainer job:
“It was through Avram’s agent Saif Rubie, who I know really well. He informed me Ghana were looking for a fitness coach for the African Nations Cup and I went along to the interview.”

“I never for one minute thought I’d get it but the interview went well and Avram was impressed with what I had to say and I got the job. I can’t thank him enough – it was a fantastic experience.”

On Coach Avram Grant:
“He is the consummate professional and he is a very inspirational character. Even for me, some of the things he said in the dressing room were inspiring. He manages to motivate each and every player and the staff too.”

“He speaks to every player before a game and gives them each a pep talk and goes through their strengths and things they need to improve and focus on. But he also works his b******s off.”

“He is very hardworking and his preparation is very thorough. Some days during the tournament the staff would be up until the early hours of the morning watching DVDs of opponents and running through tactics.”

“He was also fantastic with me on a personal note. I had a few personal issues, as a couple of friends of mine passed away while I was away, and he was very understanding.”

On crowd violence against Equitorial Guinea:
“It was absolute chaos. We were winning the semi-final comfortably and to be brutally honest we were teaching them a footballing lesson really and the Equitorial Guinea supporters were obviously not happy.”

“I was warming up some of our substitutes on the touchline ready for them to come on and the crowd were throwing bottles and rocks at us and generally anything they could get their hands on. “

“There was a big hold-up in the game and then a helicopter turned up and it was literally blowing the supporters in the stands over. The police then took over, who were a bit heavy-handed and started beating the supporters while chasing them out of the stadium.”

“I’m pretty calm under pressure, probably because of my background. It really wasn’t a worry for myself, it was a bit like being at the local pub on a Friday night. We just wanted to keep the boys safe.”

On his best Ghana players at the AFCON:
“Christian Atsu from Chelsea. He’s on loan at Everton but he’s a player. He won the ‘player of the tournament’ and the ‘goal of the tournament’ and if he can continue to develop the way he is doing at the moment he will become a terrific player.”

“Wakaso Mubarak is also a fantastic talent. He’s another one of the lads from Ghana. He’s only 24 – a central midfielder – and plays for Celtic but he’s a real talent and he’s got a big future.”

On his future:
“I am trying to get a permanent deal sorted with Ghana; we are talking things through. It was such a great experience and the Ghana president is happy and wants me on board so hopefully a contract will get sorted.”

For more sports news visit allSports.com.gh


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