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THE CONTROVERSY: GHANA CANNOT WIN AN AFCON WITH A LOCAL COACH AGAIN.

"Okatakyie" Dr. James Kwasi Appiah is one of the revered coaches of Ghana due to his huge contribution to the Ghana National Teams in over a decade. Undoubtedly, his involvement in the technical team of the Black Stars since 2007 garnered enormous support from Ghanaians to employ him as the Head Coach of the Black Stars. His first stint as the coach of the Black Stars without a dint of doubt was tragic. The visceral affection for a Ghanaian to take charge of the senior national team with political undertones led to the appointment of  Kwasi Appiah to take the Nation on cloud nine as the Cup of Nations had eluded Ghana for 37 years.

Connoisseurs of the game had to succumb the strong zeal of the government to appoint Kwasi without reiterating Kwasi's incompetence as a manager as well as questioning his tactical acumen. Well, we all guess based on the prognosis that working with Al-Khartoum of Sudan from 2014-2017 and the 2014 World Cup fracas will give Kwasi many lessons to learn from and make him successful in his second coming. " The second coming that we were all waiting on like Jesus", once again churns out to be the worst of performances from the Black Stars. Of course, every Ghanaian wished Kwasi Appiah well despite the fact that, Kwasi wasn't able to stamp his superiority as the head coach of the Black Stars during the 2014 World Cup brouhaha. No Ghanaian wished for a parodic boomerang as Dr. Kwasi Appiah was given the second chance to coach the Black Stars.

James Kwasi Appiah had his technical training at Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC which indicates how Kwasi has a good philosophy related to the English style or system of play. But this seems to have varnished into thin air as many Ghanaians questioned Kwasi's philosophy as a coach as the Black Stars was edged by Tunisia in the AFCON 2019 hosted in Egypt. My question is, is Kwasi good enough to lead Black Stars to the promise land? Is a local coach good enough to continue ? 
Let's take a look at the last 18 matches played by Coach Kwasi Appiah in his second stint, Kwasi has proven that, he cannot be the one to lead us to our 5th African Cup trophy. Out of these 18 matches, Kwasi won 6 games, loss 3 and drew 9 games. Not very bad right ? Can we forget how Ghanaians craned their necks and watched on while we lose to Kenya and horrendously won against Ethiopia as well as the unconvincing win against Kenya at the Accra Sports Stadium? We all thought the preparatory match that Ghana lost against Namibia and the stalemate against South Africa was going to land us the 5th AFCON title ? As many Ghanaians do say that, only local based coaches won Ghana the AFCON, and on that premise a local coach should be hired to win us laurels. If history is what we should go by, I completely disagree with that assertion. Lets dig down into the archives.

BLACK STARS' YEARS OF GOLD

1963: Local Coach with Local Players (Origin of Ghana's Football Politics and the Panic of Penalty Kicks?)
A couple of issues can be raised as to the reasons why the AFCON has eluded us for a very long time. Gone were the days when Ghana had good footballing systems. Charles Kumi Gyamfi led the Black Stars to our first African Cup in 1963. All the 18 man squad for the Black Stars were local based players. The chunk been 9 players from Republicans and 4 from Asante Kotoko. It is known that football was a tool that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah wanted to use to unite Africa. This draws the fact that, politics is virtually inseparable from football. This asserts that, football in Ghana was nurtured with politics. This emanates the fact that, it is wrong for Ghanaians to totally think that the appointment of politicians as management members of the Black Stars was the scourge of Black Stars. A significant issue in the 1963 African Cup final was when Ghana played Sudan and won a penalty on the 62nd minute. Aggrey Fyn, captain of the Black Stars, grabbed the ball to play but was approached by Edward Acquah, Acquah said in the Fante dialect, " Nanabenyin, ain't you afraid of taking penalties  for Ghana?". Although Fyn scored to put Ghana in the lead but the words of Acquah kept resonating, as it always dawned on him every time he made efforts to take a penalty for Ghana. An indication of how penalty kicks had always been an albatross around the necks of Black Stars?
1965: Local Coach with Local Players  
In our second quest to defend the African Cup, Black Stars was successful in defending the trophy in 1965 under fantastic players like Kofi Pare, Rev Osei Kofi, Frank Odoi, Ben Kusi, Dodoo Ankrah, Jones Attuquayefio, Ganiyu Salami. Yes, these were local players with a local coach C.K Gyamfi. Ghana beat the host nation Tunisia 3-2 to win the 5th Edition of the African Cup of Nations, thus the second African laurel.
1978: A New Local Coach with Local Players
In 1978, Ghana hosted the African Cup and won it with a local coach, Fred Osam Duodu. This time again, 100% of the 22 man squad of Ghana were local based players. Again, dominated by 4 players from Asante Kotoko and 4 players from Accra Hearts of Oak.
1982: Local Coach with Local Players
Ghana won the African Cup once again in 1982 with C.K Gyamfi as the coach of the Black Stars. Again, 20 players of the 22 man squad of Black Stars were local based players. 9 of these players played for Kotoko as Kotoko enjoyed a near perfect season in the Inter Clubs Competition. 
Deduction Made From Winning Gold with Local Coaches and Local Based Players
Drawing inference from all the competitions that Ghana won gold, the Black Stars was dominated by local based players and a local gaffer. So, the assertion that a local coach will surely lead Ghana to win the AFCON is a cogent one. Foreign coaches have been hired several occasions after we won it in 1982 but to no avail? Let me switch gears.
1984: Local Based Coach with 'Professionals';  Disgrace As Defending Champions.
We shouldn't forget the fact that, Coach Afranie took charge as the head coach of the Black Stars and led the  team to the African Cup in 1984 at Ivory Coast. Most Black Stars players worked for various government institutions, Coach Afranie invited only "professionals", these were players who had committed their full career to be footballers and ignored home grown players. These were the very times these Black Stars players who were professional players had egos. Ghana was humiliated as the defending champions for ignoring home grown players by loosing 1-2 to Nigeria, 1-3 to Algeria and won 1-0 against Zimbabwe. Taking into account the "professionals" that were called to represent Ghana in 1984 African Cup with a local coach was a disaster. I wont reiterate on the chance given to a local coach like Kwasi Appiah who has failed twice as a local coach working with foreign based players.
        
The two side of the coin can therefore be couched that, local based players won Ghana's African Cup with local Coaches and Foreign based players ''professionals'' had failed to win the ultimate for Ghana with a local coach.
Foreign Coaches leading Ghana to AFCON Finals
   I will like to delve into the fact that,White coaches had failed again and again to win us the African Cup, this is a fact that is undoubtable. It is also undoubtable that,  with the current crop of players who play for the Black Stars, a local coach can't lead the Black Stars to glory too. In 1968, Ghana employed Carlos Alberto Parreira as the head coach of the Black Stars. As Parreira arrived, he sat at the table with the Black Stars players as they looked at him strangely, thinking he had erred with any traditions, the players were just surprised why a head coach sat with them on a table. The young Brazilian, who was just 23 years old, noticing this, stayed in the same lodgings with the players and didn't move to any big hotel. He barred sex when on duty with the team, does it resonate something about the Black Stars in the just ended AFCON 2019? Parreira transformed Ghana's football, emblazoned in the memories of Ghanaians is the one touch style which garnered the accolade "The Brazilians of Africa" as Ghana lost to Congo Kinshasa in the 1968 AFCON final hosted in Ethiopia. Jones Attoquayefio who was a Black Stars player then, always commended Alberto for his style which went a long way to making Jones successful in his coaching career. These were local based players with a foreign gaffer cruising in to the final of the 1968 AFCON .
    In the 1992 AFCON, Coach Otto Pfister led the Black Stars to the tournament after inviting a 22 man squad which included only 9 local based players and 13 foreign based players. Pfister led Ghana to yet another AFCON final and lost narrowly to Ivory Coast on penalties. Not eschewing the fact that there were a couple of fracas that decoupled the unison of the Black Stars. The captain of the team Kwasi Appiah lost his arm band to the "Maestro" Abedi Pele, however, this issue was curtailed and led the team to the finals of the tournament. This team was dominated with foreign based players who thrived alongside a foreign coach.
     Milovan Rajevac led Ghana to the 2010 AFCON with young players which Ghanaians never believed they could have such an impact in the AFCON, Ghana lost to Egypt in the final after a wonderful one goal project. Five months on, the Serbian coach led Ghana to our best performance in our second appearance in the World Cup, losing on penalties to Uruguay in the Quarter-finals. This feat will forever be etched in the minds of Ghanaians, again, a foreign coach with majority of the players playing abroad.
     Avram Grant in 2015 lost to Ivory Coast on penalties in the 2015 AFCON hosted in Equatorial Guinea. These were foreign based players with just one local player gaiting to the final with a foreign coach.
A good case can be made that, as football began growing in Ghana, local players are eager to leave Ghana to play abroad. But going strictly by history and the aforementioned, it can be inferred that,
Local Coaches thrived with local based players (1963,1965,1978,1982)
Local Coaches failed with foreign based players (1984,2013,2019)
Foreign Coaches thrived with local based players (1968)
Foreign Coaches thrived with foreign based players (1992, 2010, 2015)

OTHER EMANATING FACTORS
 Ghana is a football nation and as such there are many talents in Ghana. If a player is called to play for the Black Stars, of course that pride will always be there. Black Stars players have been known to cause several melees at camp, dating back to the 60's, 70's and 90's, but proper management had always been the key.  And again, Kwasi Appiah shot himself in the leg rather than putting his best foot forward as Ghana prepared for the 2019 AFCON, as the Captaincy of the Black Stars was taken from Asamoah Gyan to Andre Ayew. In 1978, General Acheampong, President of Ghana, retired the captain of the Black Stars, Kwesi Owusu who had served Ghana for more than a decade. Kwesi Owusu was awarded by the presidency with a double decker refrigerator as  his service was not needed anymore in the Black Stars, such a glorious way to celebrate a hero. Kwesi Owusu was a goal poacher for the Black Stars scoring 5 and 4 goals in single  matches for the Black Stars. He arguably scored over 70 goals for the Black Stars which was not well documented. Regardless, he was celebrated well as his captaincy was taken from him and was retired from the Black Stars. Do we have an institutional memory as a Nation? Couldn't this feat be copied in the Asamoah Gyan case? 
       As a football nation, Ghana should look at reorganizing its footballing systems again, reforming its colts and youth football to get back that system that produced patriotic players to play for the Black Stars as well as empowering our local clubs to compete well in the Africa Inter-Club competitions. Sticking to the foreign based players, Ghana should employ foreign coaches to manage the egos of some prima donnas in the Black Stars or stick to more local based players and employ local based coaches. The psychological numbness that makes us carry the assertion that " Ball no de3, obia ahu b)", should never be the mantra as a nation. When we were winning the AFCON in the 60's,70's and 80's, every country knew how to play too. Football is full of surprises, but then, the top teams in Africa  keep winning the AFCON and the top teams in the world who are proven winners keep winning the World Cup. 
It's been 12 days already since the Black Stars came back to Ghana from Egypt. Why the definite silence ? Why ain't we hearing anything on Kwasi? As Dr. Kofi Amoah, President of the Normalization Committee said, If Kwasi doesn't win the AFCON he's a goner. The gold medals will be received today in Egypt at the 2019 AFCON, Ghana is no where to be found. If the words of the President of the Normalization Committee is what we should go by as Ghanaians, officially, Coach James Kwasi Appiah is not the coach of the Black Stars anymore.
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