Pulse Ghana's Thomas Freeman Yeboah explains why Kwesi Appiah was given a second spell as Black Stars coach
Black Stars on Sunday 11th June hammered Ethiopia 5-0 in their opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) game at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.
Kwesi Appiah's job is cut out for him and after monitoring his first game in charge on his return Pulse Sports writer Thomas Freeman Yeboah believes he has what it takes to make his employers proud for handing him second coming.
These the reasons that motivated his appointment
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Of course, I have my reasons.
Kwesi Appiah made a huge mark in the Sudanese Premier League. He gave several young talents the opportunity to play in the topflight by promoting them from the club's youth team. His gamble paid off, as he finished the season in 5th position and subsequently won the coach of the year in the Sudanese league. He was contacted by the Sudanese Football Association to even take over the Falcans of Jediane (Sudan national team), but he turned down the offer.
I believe Ghana needed a coach who can help identify young talents by putting in place proper guidelines to scout Ghanaians both home and abroad. Per what Appiah did as the Black Stars coach by identifying talents like Christian Atsu and Mubarak Wakaso, who are now key cogs part of the Black Stars machinery, a comeback won't be far fetched.
Currently he has identified talents like Thomas Agyapong, Lumor, etc and given Ebenezer Ofori the confidence to play a major role in his team
Moreover, in the aftermath of Grant's failure to deliver the AFCON as well as the poor form in the second year of his tenure, Ghanaians seemed to have grown disillusioned with the perceived competence of foreign tacticians. The Israeli came with a high reputation, with the belief that he was going to turn around the fortunes of the Black Stars by ending the over three-decade long trophy drought of the team. However, he failed to deliver the goods in two attempts - being a losing finalist in 2015 and achieving a mediocre fourth place in 2017. Moreover, despite reportedly taking twice the salary of Appiah, the former Chelsea boss picked up just a single point from two World Cup qualifying games. He was further criticised for disrespecting his employers by overstaying his leave and paying less attention to the local league.
There was a call for the appointment of an indigenous coach for the vacant Black Stars job and looking at the Ghanaian coaches available at the time, Kwesi Appiah stood tall, per his clout and experience in coaching. Several football loving fans believed his performance was better than Grant's, since the Black Stars under him were winning games convincingly and scoring a lot of goals.
Crucially, he had the backing of several Ghanaians to continue from where he left it off three years ago.
Ghana played one of their best brands of football under his watch during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, despite exiting in the group phase of the tournament. The Black Stars, after losing 1-2 against the USA, held Germany, the eventual champions, to a 2-2 draw, before they lost 1-2 to Portugal, that coming in the wake of a player- boycott of training over the delay in the payment of appearance fees.
Most people believe Ghana would have progressed from the group stage had it not been for the off the field upheavals, which to be fair was the fault of the team's management authorities rather than the technical bench: In short, beyond the reach of Appiah. Ghanaians have come to the realisation that it is a difficult task for a coach to qualify a team for the World Cup, especially after Grant drew one and lost one of his two qualifying games as Black Stars coach, a record which has effectively ended Ghana's hopes of making Russia 2018. Grant's failure seems to have inspired a longing for Appiah, who oversaw perhaps Ghana's most exciting World Cup qualifications.
Kwesi Nyantakyi in a way passed a vote of confidence in Kwesi Appiah, after Black Stars exit from the World Cup, but the latter's comment over the appointment of a technical director is understood to have cost him his job and after he drew goalless against Uganda in Kumasi his contract was terminated. Kwesi Appiah amicably accepted his severance package without engaging the GFA in any legal battle, managing to evade the tempting bait of burning a bridge that seems to have become so crucial now.
A recent accusation by a GFA member, Kofi Manu - who claims that former deputy Sports Minister Vincent Oppong Asamoah was the one behind Kwesi Appiah's dismissal - has hinted that the GFA seemed to have been forced to let Appiah go last time around, made it possible that they were courting a reunion now that the conditions are different.