Citi Sports’ Nathan Quao believes that despite all the external challenges, Black Stars head coach Avram Grant must do his job to send Ghana to the 2018 World Cup.
There is a theory I developed a few months into my working life and it is something I preach to my colleagues all the time.
I call it the theory of “respecting one’s salary.”
The theory says that if you earn a wage or a salary or anything that comes to you as a result of work, you need to do your best so that you can take your wage and enjoy it fully.
I watched Ghana play against Uganda last Friday and I feel that it is time for Avram Grant to be introduced to that theory because we need him to get his act right so we can head to another World Cup.
After the match, the Isreali said that his players were derailed by several off-the-pitch factors. He stated that the team could not prepare well enough and he went to say that they gave everything.
Of course, they did. They had no choice.
But what Grant did not reveal to journalists was that he had been outsmarted by his opponent, Milutin Sredojevic. The Serbian understood the mechanics of the Black Stars and had devised a plan to get a very good result for his team.
Avram Grant could not find a way past Sredojevic and in doing that, Grant lost the basic principle of coaching: asking and answering tactical questions.
We cannot afford to let that happen often especially now that we are chasing a ticket to Russia in 2018 and Avran Grant needs to be told that.
How does he get it right?
The one and only thing our coach must do is to focus on his job and really do it. Every now and then, we hear of his monitoring trips but I am yet to see a definite outcome from the miles he covers in terms of air travel.
Our right-full back area needs consolidation. We have Harrison Afful in that position but who replaces him when the need arises? Do we have another right-back who can give us something more?
What about the relationship between Baba Rahman and Frank Acheampong? Those two looked great when we played against Rwanda and they present a great attacking threat for us and we need to use them very well.
What are we doing to find options for our forward line? Who replaces Asamoah Gyan and are we thinking of playing in another way without him?
We have seen how Jordan Ayew operates for Aston Villa. Is Mr. Grant taking note? Are there other forwards out there he is looking at?
What about our unstable goalkeeping situation? We have clearly seen Razak Braimah’s frailties and we have to make a call on who stands between the sticks for the rest of the qualifiers.
What do we do with our set pieces? We wasted those we got against Uganda. It looked like we were trying our luck to see if one would beat Dennis Onyango in post for the Cranes.
There was no Ghanaian player in the human wall at every occasion to create space for the shooter. These are things a technical person like Avram Grant should see.
The most important thing Mr. Grant must do is to give us an identity. A way of playing. Something that will set us apart from the other teams. Some will say that is a risky venture because opponents can easily look at us and draw up the counter measure.
However, I believe that giving our football a look will guide our thinking and it will define what each player does for the team.
Mr. Grant must also galvanise the team so that the players will feel inspired and they will want to fight for every point on the pitch not only in the World Cup but in the 2017 AFCON in Gabon.
A successful campaign will not be carried solely on technical perfection but it will also be premised on the unity of heart, mind and goal.
It may sound like this part is for the psychologist but it falls under Avram Grant’s tasks.
In the end, there is one thing at stake and that is Avram Grant’s mandate to get the job done.
He can talk about bad pitches and poor preparation. He can mention the feud between the GFA and the Sports Ministry. He has the right to do so. All these are important.
But all these will not take us away from asking him to do what a coach who earns 50,000 euros a month should.
I know he is capable. I have heard tales of how he plotted a win over Guinea in the 2015 AFCON in minutes on a plane so he can surely figure himself out.
He must win games. He must outwit opponents and he must find solutions to any tactical question he is asked on the pitch.
That is what we pay him for. That is why we pay him his wage.
So, Mr. Grant, whether you like it or not, it is time to earn your euros. It is time to respect your salary.
Follow me on @nathan_quao