Ghanaian football has struggled over the past few years: we are still in search of our 5th AFCON title since 1982, our best local players do not earn call-ups and our dominance on the continent has been severely diminished.
Finally, the vacant Black Stars coaching job has been filled by James Kwesi Appiah. This will be his second stint in charge of the Black Stars after the events of the 2014 World Cup.
Here at Ghanafans we look at the pros and cons of having James Kwesi Appiah back at the helm of affairs.
Before calling for Kwesi Appiah’s head after the nightmares of Brazil 2014, we should remember one thing: he has done this before. Kwesi Appiah has a decade worth of coaching experience: five years as Ghana’s Assistant coach and success with the Under-23 team at the All-Africa Games. Since leaving the Black Stars, however, Appiah has enhanced his experience, going over to Sudan with Al Khartoum and winning the coach of the year award.
Support of the citizens
Despite the public outcry against his appointment, a large percentage of the population agreed that Kwesi Appiah is the right choice. Ghanaians have shown their support for Kwesi Appiah over various social media platforms. He has the full backing of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), which probably means he is a long term solution.
Knowledge of the local league and the youth teams
One thing Kwesi Appiah handled successfully during his first tenure was to freshen up the team with younger players as well players from the local league. Ghanaians have voiced their concerns over the lack of young players to freshen our ageing team. Should Kwesi Appiah continue this trend, complaints about the lack of local players in the national team will die down.
Kwesi Appiah does have experience coaching the black stars. He has experience with the youth teams. The question is, does he have the coaching experience to take the team to the next level? Take Herve Renard for example; he has proven tournament experience, this gives him the upper hand on the international stage. We need a top level coach to bring us success on the continent, and I fear Kwesi Appiah does not have that quality yet.
Where do we begin? Waiting for the opponent to tire before making substitutions, playing a midfielder at full back and fielding very questionable starting XIs, Kwesi Appiah showed his tactical limitations. He does not have that knowledge of how to close a game or how to kill it off. He fields the same team in the same formations and makes almost the same substitutions every time. Kwesi Appiah’s pedestrian tactics will come unstuck against better teams.
Even though Kwesi Appiah has the full backing of the GFA, there are still a few of them who had issues with him in 2014. Some players also fell out with him in Brazil. His attitude was considered problematic by players and executives alike. Appiah’s success as coach will depend on how he deals with these issues.
While we may have our own opinions on Kwesi Appiah’s success, we should rally behind him and show our full support as a country. Let us hope he has learnt from his mistakes and is coming back a better coach, for he holds the future of Ghanaian football in his hands.