Black Stars job Meet the candidates and what they bring to the table

Who wins the race to succeed Avram Grant? Pulse Sports profiles what each candidate brings to the table

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play (L-R) Kwesi Appiah, Willy Sagnol and Hugo Broos
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The race to succeed Avram Grant, the subject of keen interest from football stake holders over the last few weeks, seems to be nearing an end with interviews scheduled to take place next week.

READ MORE: Black Stars job Competition for Kwesi Appiah as Sagnol, Broos emerge on short list

After numerous applications - reported widely across local media as reaching close to 70 - came in, Pulse.com.gh understands that three-men have made the final short-list being considered by the Ghana Football Association (GFA): Ghanaian James Kwesi Appiah, French Willy Sagnol and Belgian Hugo Broos.

Pulse.com.gh analyses what each man brings to the table.

1. Kwesi Appiah

play James Kwesi Appiah

 

He is no doubt the front runner, with many whispers from the corridors of the G.F.A placing him high on the establishment's preference. Appiah is the only Ghanaian on the short-list, and with the clamour for home-grown expertise growing really strong over the last few weeks, he looks well-placed to make a return to the job he had from 2012-2014.

READ MORE: A curious case Why Kwesi Appiah struggled to gain acceptance

The 56-year-old's biggest advantage is his prior experience with the team. He spent five years (2007-2012) as assistant coach with the team, understudying the likes of Claude LeRoy, Milovan Rajevac and Goran Stevanovic, before being promoted.

His team was hailed for it's free-flowing attacking football and goals - 62 in 31 games - while he also managed impressive performances in decisive games (2-1 v Zambia, 6-1 v Egypt, 2-2 v Germany).

READ MORE: Returnee? Have a look at Kwesi Appiah's stats as Ghana coach

He is also helped by his experience not only as a former player, but as a former player with the team, having played for the national team from the early 80s through to the mid-90s, starting out as a young member of the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations side through to captaining the team in the period before the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations.

Appiah has also grown his reputation as a coach in Sudan where he has been based since leaving the Ghana job in 2014, leading Al Khartoum to 4th and 5th places on the Sudanese League logs for 2015 and 2016, winning the coveted Manager of the Year last year.

It has recently been speculated that Kwesi Appiah's initial exit from the Black Stars job in 2014 had been as a result of politics rather than performance, something that has led to many predicting a return for him especially as the current top brass of the Sports Ministry seem to have hinted at wanting his return. Former Ghana President John Agyekum Kufuor has also backed the return of Appiah.

READ MORE: Favourite Why Kwesi Appiah will be appointed as next Black Stars coach

His flaw, his critics argue, is his inability to manage man-manage the superstar egos within the Black Stars set-up, with the team gaining notoriety at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for player indiscipline and squabbles for bonuses that derailed Ghana's campaign. Appiah has also been criticized for not being articulate and charismatic.

2. Willy Sagnol

Sagnol's name first emerged in the running in the middle of February.

The former French international's biggest selling point lies more within his experience as a player than as a manager.

The right back played at St Etienne and Monaco in his native France, but it was at German giants Bayern Munic where he made his name, winning five Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, a Champions League title and an Intercontinental Cup.

READ MORE: Grant's Replacement? GFA in advanced talks with Willy Sagnol over Black Stars coaching role

With France, where he was capped 58 times in eight years, he won two Confederations Cup titles (2001 and 2003), while playing a key-role as Les Bleus reached the final of the 2006 World Cup, losing to Italy on penalties.

Apart from having that pedigree as a player who competed and won trophies at the highest level, Sagnol has unfortunately not enjoyed the same reputation as a coach.

The downside to his candidacy thus is his inexperience. His coaching career spans only four years - a year (2013-14) with the French U-21 national team, and two years (2014-16) with French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, where he managed an unimpressive 39.77% winning percentage and was sacked.

READ MORE: Black Stars Favourite for Ghana coaching job Willy Sagnol accused of racism

Sagnol, who turned 40 on March 18, has also come under massive criticism in the past for some alleged racist comments made about African players, tagging them as stereotypically physical but lacking in intelligence.

3. Hugo Broos

play Hugo Broos

 

It remains to be seen if the GFA will manage to lure Broos out of his contract with Cameroon, but sources say he is still on the short list.

READ MORE: Hugo Broos Meet the outsider who masterminded Cameroon's AFCON 2017 win

The Belgian coach is hands down the biggest name on the list - not only in terms of achievements, but in terms of experience as well.

He has been in management for 29 years, having won 11 trophies - including three Belgian league titles with two of the country's biggest clubs, Anderlecht and Club Brugge, as well as the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon in Gabon. He is a four-time Belgian Manager of the Year award winner.

READ MORE: AFCON Winning Coaches Cameroon coach Hugo Broos makes history

Broos has been hailed for building a young, spirited Cameroonian team within a short time - following some high profile players snubbing his call ups - and going on to win the Afcon in Gabon against the odds.

He was also a celebrated former defender who won 12 trophies in 13 years at Anderlecht, going on to win a further three in five years at Club Brugge, all in the 70s and 80s.

READ MORE: AFCON 2017 We studied Ghana's weakness - Hugo Broos

Should the GFA manage to poach Broos, it would be a major coup for the country. He would be only the second foreign Afcon winning manager to coach the Black Stars (after Claude Le Roy).

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