Soccer News of Friday, 9 February 2018
Former Ghana international John Paintsil believes his appointment at Vision Explorers Soccer Academy can be the first step on a long and successful coaching career.
The 36-year-old was appointed as head coach of the Division Two side in January following a spell as assistant to Steve Komphela at Kaizer Chiefs, although his new surroundings are a far cry from the facilities he used to enjoy in the Premier League.
The ex-Fulham defender’s new base in Accra is a patchy, uneven playing field with bamboo stands, but he’s optimistic that the basic setting will provide the springboard to a successful coaching career.
“I started my playing career on similar pitches before I ended up in Europe so this is not exactly difficult to deal with,” he told KweséESPN.
“The pleasure of working goes beyond the quality of pitches. It’s about helping a lot of players realise their fullest potential and for me as a coach about building up my reputation well.
“If the initial difficulties didn’t stop me from playing at the highest level, I don’t see how it should affect a coaching career.”
Paintsil featured for Berekum Arsenal and Liberty Professionals in his homeland before embarking on a European career with Israeli heavyweights Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
He also spent six years in English football – with West Ham United, Fulham and Leicester City – before moving to South African side Santos after a brief return to Hapoel.
During his career, he’s worked under the likes of Avram Grant, Roy Hodgson, Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley, and credits each with teaching him vital lessons.
“There are things I have learnt from the managers I have worked under and hopefully it should help me along the way,” he continued. “Sometimes you have to be soft, sometimes you have to be blunt, sometimes you have to encourage and sometimes you must scream to get the best out of these boys.”
That exposure to the highest level of competition in Europe is also one of the reasons why Paintsil feels there could be an African coach managing at one of Europe’s top five leagues before too long.
“There are so many players from the continent who have played at the highest level and are interested in coaching, so it will happen one day”, he added. “It’s only a matter of time, but it will require a lot of work and a willingness to learn everyday.”
While the Europa League runner-up has also outlined his desire to coach the Ghana national side, whom he represented with distinction at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
“It is a long away but that is the dream; to coach the Ghana national team one day,” Paintsil concluded. “First I must do well here and help these boys reach their fullest potential, but it is something I really want to do.”