Citi Fm’s Benjamin Epton looks at the puzzles Ghana might have to solve in appointing Israeli Avram Grant as the new head coach of the Black Stars
Ghana is once again on the verge of getting a new ‘foreign coach’. He is an Israeli, who succeeded Mourinho in 2007 as Chelsea manager. He is also the former manager of both Portsmouth football club and West Ham United.
As stars coach, Avram Grant says his ambition is to raise Ghana to a new level in international football.
“[It is the wish of Avram Grant] to make Ghana one of the biggest powerhouses of world football,” Grant’s agent Saif Rubie told Graphic Sports.
However, an appointment that seems normal in sporting terms could trigger adverse diplomatic consequences for Ghana if not thoroughly examined. Why?
The 56 – year – old manager hails from Israel, a country that is currently entangled in diplomatic rows with several Islamic nations on and off the African continent.
This situation has led to the adaptation of the 1952 Nationalist Law which prevents Israeli citizens from visiting some 20 Islamic nations which includes Africa’s Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan, which have been earmarked as enemies of Israel.
Per this law, visiting any of these countries might result in loss of that individual’s citizenship.
What this means for Ghana
This situation makes Grant’s looming appointment problematic considering the fact that Israel’s diplomatic “quarrel” with various Islamic States bars him from visiting any of these African nations listed under the Israeli nationalist law.
As an Israeli citizen, does this mean that Grant will not be able to travel and coach the national team against countries such as Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan, if Ghana faces them in international friendlies and qualifiers?
Will he be able to monitor any Ghanaian players if they play on the soil of any of the listed nations?, Yet it seems that the GFA may understand all these concerns because sources close to the GFA state that these diplomatic matters will be discussed when they meet with him next week to agree on his terms and the financial package.
We hope that the GFA finds a way past the obstacles Grant has indirectly placed in our path; otherwise an alternative must be found to keep the national team running even if the Israeli coach is absent.
It is often said that sports and politics cannot mix but once again, we see the two areas ending up as neighbours. .
The next step might be to tie Grant to our country’s “knot” while we skillfully weave our way past the “discomfort” that could be faced with him in charge.
By: Benjamin Epton/citifmonline.com/Ghana