QUAO: The hard truth from Grant via an error

Thursday 31st March , 2016 6:17 pm

Citi Sports editor Nathan Quao gives his take on the current Avram Grant swear-word saga and says even though, he got it wrong with his wording, he was only telling us a simple truth about our football.

I bet Avram Grant must be feeling the heat from sports journalists after he went down the upset route and said we needed to cut out the “bulls**t” and think of the things that would aid our football.

For going out of character and swearing at all of us, he needs to be criticised and reminded that he must behave accordingly as a national team coach.

We pay him and so, if he has something to say, there are a million ways of getting his thoughts across with a lot of decorum.

He has duly retracted his words and he has given us an explanation of what he meant to say.

Fair game, Mr. Grant.

But as the dust settles on the episode, we need to start thinking deeply about what the Israeli sought to say.

He said we had to focus on doing the necessary things in order for our football to grow. Why would he let this out? Has he seen something going wrong?

Maybe he has and my colleagues in this profession have, at one point or the other, also observed that we are not doing much in the area of growing our game.

In that press conference, Grant answered a question on his comments in an interview with FIFA.com.

In the said interaction, he expressed his opinion on Ghana’s potential to reach the World Cup semi-final in 2018 in Russia.

However, he said that dream would only come to pass if we did the necessary and even though, he may not have said so explicitly, what I picked up from his response to the question at the press conference on the semi-final target was very instructive.

The first thing he mentioned in his answer was the development of pitches.

Key word: pitches.

Football’s equivalent of a laboratory or classroom; places designed for learning and the Israeli coach said we had to work on those – the footballer’s place of acquiring knowledge- first.

That should tell us one simple thing: We are not doing enough and Grant has noticed.

As a football-loving country, I think our attitude to developing the game is very questionable. We have not yet identified how we want to play our football and that is at the base of all we will achieve in the future.

I watch matches in the local league and I struggle to identify something about what I see. Players have little or no technique and the matches are ponderous. Set-pieces are not utilised and there is the general impression that we cannot find a pattern to the games.

Our national teams either play a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 but one gets the sense that these shapes are just ways of putting players on the pitch. I cannot find anything remotely close to a philosophy or an original method of doing things.

What goes into selecting players for our age-restricted teams? What do we do with the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence?

That place should be the nerve-centre of our football development but it is just a place to camp national teams.

Do we have enough training programmes to upgrade our local coaches to a high level so that they can teach the next generation of players?

Are we training our backroom staff sufficiently? Are they conversant with video analysis and the newest trends in football so that we can study our opponents thoroughly?

I could keep asking questions but I am sure that a lot of them will get a negative response.

That is the story of our football as things stand.

I believe we can get better but we must work at it and that is what Avram Grant was telling us.

He got it wrong with his words but his thoughts were spot-on and maybe it is high time we saw the spirit of the message.

It will help us eventually.



Follow Nathan Quao on Twitter @nathan_quao