In the days preceding his official unveiling, the dominating element in the conversations was that time had afforded Kwesi Appiah the opportunity to look back, evaluate and decipher the elements that had combined to get him expelled in his first stint as Black Stars head coach.
For me this press conference would hold a different meaning from all the ones I had attended because for once the words of the main protagonist were not the subject of interest but his reaction and mannerisms.
A bag of nerves
There are some managers that are great at building championship winning teams while others are great at combining all the necessary factors to win the Championship. I believe that Appiah belongs in the first category.
Kwesi Appiah’s first test started right there and then at his unveiling press conference but perhaps he was not aware that his every move and reaction was under scrutiny.
The nervous rub of the chin, the persistent fidgeting with his hands and the eyes that darted all the place when tough questions were asked still reeked of a man who could be tipped over the edge in very testing situations.
The management of ego driven footballers and in Ghana’s case technical men and other officials will be key to his success and he didn’t exactly pass that test in its simplest form.
A lot of his answers were ambiguous and lacked conviction with undertones of one who was keen to exhibit his control and firmness.
Perhaps, Appiah is just glossophobic, an element of his persona that has nothing to do with his real work on the pitch as a manager.
Appiah the Strategist
He could not hide his dismay at how fragmented the national team he had left behind had become in such a short spell.
A homogeneous national football structure is the long term key to success for a nation like Ghana and Appiah declared his intention to work closely with the various heads of the age restricted teams in a bid to enhance positive team chemistry and knowledge sharing.
He also outlined his intention to phase out any under-performing players while emphasizing depth in quality at each position through healthy competition for places.
Leaving a positive image and imprint is important to Appiah and according to him grooming a team that is young and capable of competing for laurels in the long term will be his main objective.
He gingerly avoided the topic of winning the Afcon 2019 which the GFA has marked as his main objective to attain.
Reports claim that the likes of promising young midfielder Yaw Yeboah will feature in his plans as he prepares for his first game against Ethiopia, giving us an early insight into his intentions.
If what he did with Atsu is anything to go by then it is safe to say that planning for the future through trust and the handing of opportunities to youngsters is one of Appiah’s stand out attributes.
Re-Thinking the back room staff
The engine room to the success story of a team on the pitch is certainly the back room staff and Appiah’s technical team on face value looks interesting.
Maxwell Konadu, Ismail Hamidu and Michael Okyere represent the old guard, while Ibrahim Tanko, popular former Captain of Ghana Stephen Appiah and former goalkeeper Richard Kingson embody the new technical team’s direction.
To the surprise of many present the role of team manager/welfare officer which will now be occupied by Stephen Appiah had been scrapped and in its place, a new position called the technical coordinator created.
My investigations revealed that Stephen Appiah was not comfortable with the tag and the role of the team manager in its current state and thus sought out a role that could better make use of his vast experience at the top level of the game.
No longer would he be bothered with ensuring that players were well taken care of in the general sense as has been the case in the past.
He is to operate as a shadow scout and is expected to provide perspective and insight on key technical issues to aid build his capacity.
After years between the sticks for Ghana Richard Kingson has also begun his goalkeepers trainer journey with the Black Stars.
His predecessor Nasamu Yakubu was frequently accused of employing redundant and outmoded training practices which made his departure unavoidable in the wake of Appiah’s appointment.
The impact of Kingston’s work and his recommendations will be huge with Ghana enduring a mini goal keeper crises currently.
Ibrahim Tanko the first assistant will also have the opportunity to show Ghanaians and the World what he can bring to the table after serving as the number two man for Cameroon.
The team has also appointed a new Massuer and team doctor.
Avram Grant’s disrespect and disregard lingers in his absence
Handing over notes are a customary obligation of any employee who wishes to be absent either temporarily or permanently from a job.
They provide in-depth information on trends and patterns, strengths and weaknesses and also help in formulating new strategies and plans.
After all the indifference and mediocrity Ghana endured under Grant, departing without leaving a comprehensive technical report for his successor is a new low and speaks volumes about the Israeli manager and his attitude towards his job.
After being away for 2 years there is a void in knowledge especially on personnel and the form of players that Appiah now has to take time to acquaint with due to the lack of diligence displayed by Grant.
The Ghana Premier League will receive attention
Before he officially signed his contract to begin his second tenure Appiah had already watched a host of local league games, immediately raising the awareness of players around the league.
He has vowed to give local players a chance on the basis that their performances merit a call up.
With Maxwell Konadu assigned to be in charge of the local Black Stars and Stephen Appiah also set to do extensive scouting it appears as if the time has come where a Black Stars coach is genuinely interested in keeping an eye on the league.
In its current state the local league is not in the position to churn out stand out players on a regular but the few that manage to show consistency in their craft have the satisfaction of knowing that they are genuinely being monitored and will be rewarded for their efforts.
By: Benjamin Nketsia/citifmonline.com/Ghana');