15 days after officially beginning his second spell as Black Stars coach, Kwesi Appiah met the press who had made loud calls for the former captain to be introduced.
His plans were certainly top on the priority list but the yardstick to judge him could also not missed out.
Appiah will take charge of the Black Stars and Black Stars “B” on a two-year contract with his first game being the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia. Here are 10 notes to take away from his unveiling.
1. His opening comments was to show gratitude to all and sundry who made his second coming possible . Right after that, his vision for the team had to be outlined and he rightly stated what he envisages for the team.
2 . It was during his tenure Ghana witnessed a very poor World Cup both on and off the pitch. Part of this had to do with two key players (Sulley Muntari and KP Boateng) crossing the line. Both players were sent home and have never featured for Ghana again. It was inevitable he will be asked about them. But what are his plans for the duo?
3 . Appiah appointed Asamoah Gyan his captain in his first term. Five years down the line and there are reported rifts and divisions in camp over the captaincy. He had a decision to make because central to his success will be team unity. Is he changing hands or will he maintain the status quo?
4. Appiah took Maxwell Konadu as his assistant in his first reign. The former Kotoko trainer has retained his place in the national setup ever since despite the former being sacked. Reports have emerged Kwesi Appiah did not want Konadu in his technical setup. What exactly will he be doing as the second assistant now?
5. Only 18 players can make a matchday squad with 11 starting matches. In a tournament, 23 players will be selected to represent the nation but there should be a pool of competent players to always choose from. Avram Grant was bashed several times for naming template squads. How different will Kwesi Appiah be handling this?
6. Ibrahim Tanko has been named the first assistant with Richard Kingson as goalkeeper’s trainer. Both are former players but the appointment that has come under the radar is Stephen Appiah. The former captain assumes a new role of technical coordinator. What exactly is expected of him?
7. It was widely rumored and now a reality. Whichever side you were on holds no water now. Kwesi Appiah is the Ghana coach and what is expected of us is to throw our weight behind him. Does he know about people’s perception concerning his reappointment?
8. “I believe that the young guys who played did well and my intention was to bring the old ones on when the US team get tired but these things happen.” This were Appiah’s comments after Ghana lost 2-1 to USA in the 2014 World Cup. He is still remembered for these comments till date. Huge error which will never be pardoned if repeated. But first, does he know about this and several other mistakes he made in his first spell?
9. Part of woes in 2014 can be attributed to how things were organized. Issues of finances are solely out of the hands of the head coach. The coach can only plan and propose where to camp and train prior to a tournament. Execution is left to those above. How does he view our preparatory phase for tournaments and competitions?
10 . Appiah invited a couple of local players in his first spell despite featuring them. Notable amongst them is Mahatma Otoo who was at the peak of his powers with Hearts of Oak. The Black Stars technical setup is now a made in Ghana team and there are calls for this localization to extend to the squad itself. How easy and feasible is this call?
Kwesi Appiah has got a chance to make amends after a rocky end to his first reign. His first achievement is to get Ibrahim Tanko on board to improve his technical team tactically. Tanko will introduce new training techniques and introduce new technology to a set of players who are used to the modern trend of football.
The unveiling itself seemed rushed and his targets well below of what is expected from a national team coach. He was tasked to build a good Black Star “A” and “B” squad, qualify and win AFCON 2019 and try his possible best to qualify Ghana for the World Cup.
These seem fair on hindsight but what happened to the CHAN tournament where he will be coaching the Black Stars “B”? Ghana have reached the final twice in that tournament and we are due a trophy but that was not mentioned.
What style of play and philosophy do we want to build as a nation? How will these trickle down from the Black Stars, to Meteors, Satellites down to the Starlets? What plans have been put in place to build consistency and ensure players easily transition from the Starlets to the Black Stars?
Someway somehow, part of Avram Grant’s responsibility was to hold seminars for local coaches in the league. None of this was mentioned in his target. Are we bent on creating an identity or the short term target of winning a trophy has blinded our choices?
Appiah claims he has learned from his mistakes so hopefully, in his next few press conferences he will not be told what to say.
We can only hope for the best and wish he returns Ghana to the pinnacle of African football.