Hypothetical situation, the offices of the Ghana Football Association is an orphanage and they have put out the announcement of every 24 months after their “star baby boy”, the Black Stars suffer desertion by their fathers, who have on three different occasions, abandoned them for the simple reason of moving on to greater ground.
I am sure that even children resident at the Osu Orphanage and other foster homes would have been consoled by now for the absence of their parents. Yes, they may be orphans but for just once in their lifetime – unlike some other orphans I know of.
Almost as though planned, the men who have on timeless occasions carried the feelings of the over 22 million Ghanaians whenever they came out of a tunnel onto a football pitch have not only been ‘bereaved’ but are orphaned for how many times now? (Forgive me, I just lost count).
Its official! The Black Stars are without a ‘father’ and as was perfectly put by Christopher Opoku, Head of Sports at Metro TV, “It sets the stage for a battle royale,” as Ghana and the Black Stars look to signing the next man to take over the reigns of the technical bench of the men’s senior national team.
It only takes two years, just 24 months if you wish at least in the last 6 years, for the single job of Black Stars manager to be advertised after a long period of patchy stints by a mixture of expatriates and local coaches.
Significant of note is, the Black Stars have changed sixteen coaches in the last decade, out of which are six Ghanaians – two on interim basis – and ten expatriate ones. Italian Giuseppe Dossena started at the turn of the decade when he took charge between 1999 and 2000. His exit saw the appointment of three local coaches within a two- year period – Fred Osam Duodu in 2000, Jones Attuquayefio in 2001, then a return for Osam Duodu between 2001 and 2002.
The team played under six managers between 2002 and 2004, during which time Coach Afranie was the only Ghanaian therein. The five other expatriate coaches were Serb Milan Zivadinovic, Germen Burkhard Ziese and Ralf Zumdick, Portuguese professor Marianno Baretto whose exit culminated in the appointment on an interim basis of Coach Sam Arday.
Entered Ratomir Djukovic whose appointment was the start of some stability to the post, a 24-month stability period which in the end left the Black Stars team orphaned. Despite an abysmal outing at Cup of Nations in Egypt albeit most key players were absent coupled with a huge media bashing that followed, Djukovic, like several other expatriate coaches, enjoyed massive support from the Ghana Football Association. (GFA)
The GFA’s trust paid off when Djukovic led the Black Stars to the round-of-16 stage of the World Cup, rising to beat the highly rated Czech Republic and United States, having lost on the first match to Italy before losing to Brazil thanks largely to referee Lubos Michel – whom Djukovic reportedly told to have worn a Brazilian jersey, was coming onto the field. Subsequently, Djukovic quit the Ghana post to take up the post of manager of the Chinese under-21 side. (A more lucrative job by “Djukovician” standards).
French man Claude Le Roy was next after FA’s preferred candidate, the man known as “white witch doctor”, fellow French man Philippe Troussier, turned down the vacant Stars job. Le Roy’s main task was to guide the team to “Host & Win” the African Cup of Nations that was to be staged here in Ghana in 2008. After his failure in that regard, Le Roy, like his two predecessors – Djukovic and Baretto – blamed the media as being too nosy and noisy; and coupled with personal reasons, Monsieur Le Roy walked out to take on a job at Oman, again, leaving the Black Stars orphaned.
All this while, whenever a vacancy fell with respect to the Black Stars coaching job, it ignited the debate as to whether or not, there was the need for a local or an expatriate coach for the Stars. And with the resignation of Milo, we are back to square one, as the mantra goes.
Milo was a coach who was strong willed as he had taken his club side on bus to play a UEFA game; he was well certified and competent, etc. Bottom line, in spite of these concerns, Milo was the perfect choice. Typical GFA defense for whichever expatriate they wanted to hire.
Milo it must be said, has since his appointment discharged himself well with a very good and effective blend of youth and experience – a system started by his predecessor, Le Roy. Milo was runner-up twice on the African continent – in the Championship of African Nations and African Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast and Angola respectively.
Then he brought the Stars within reach of an historic and record-breaking qualification to the semi-finals of the first ever World Cup on African soil, only to be “suarezed.” Subsequent to which the Serb-led management, the Stars had a 0-1 loss to South Africa at the Soccer City stadium after which he led the team to a 3-0 win against Swaziland in qualification for the next African Cup of Nations.
If the saying, “those with eyes let them see,” is anything to go by, the cat-and-mouse merry-go-round that had surrounded whether or not, Milo had signed a new deal, and should have told us something. Yet again the signs were all over the wall, but the FA kept faith till the Saudi money proved superior to our peanuts of USD66,000.
Milo’s management, Virtus, which manages most Black Stars players – reason for which some players are speculated never to have made the squad under Milo – are incensed at his (Milo’s) decision to unilaterally sign for Saudi outfit Al Ahli. But with the FA refusing to grant coaches’ deals beyond 24 months, and waiting till contract expiration to begin contract renewal talks, the national team are better resigned to remain ‘orphans’ over every two years.
But for a team that had seen a marked and steady growth in its fortunes and transition from the old to the young generation. I guess there is really no surprise at headlines such as, “Mad Rush for Ghana Coaching job,” and “GFA unsurprised by ‘train’ of coaches after Stars’ coaching job” does not in the least surprise us, right? The situation with the Black Stars is of a ”Nana Boroic” popular tune, “Aha aye de,” simply put, this place is juicy/enticing.
The Black Stars, all credit to the GFA and its management style has branded the team so well that associating with even individuals in the team has over time proven to give advertisers mileage with respect to selling their products. The role is now good, the team is motivated to make the World Cup a quadrennial gift to Ghanaians and Africans to some extent. (at least from our performance in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010)
As for calls by a cross-section of Ghanaians, including top members of the football fraternity and some ex-football players like Augustine Arhinful are very much in line to giving the job to one of our own with of course, all the backing and support we have handed the expatriates. Reports of how close Desailly is to the job especially in the wake of reports by the FA that they have entered talks, albeit informal with the Ghanaian-born frenchman who has no known coaching record.
SellasTetteh of Rwanda, Duncan of Obuasi Ashantigold, Herbert Addo of Aduana Stars et. al. deserve the post as much as the Humberto Cuelhos, Juande Ramos’ and former Hertha Berlin Coach Lucien Favre and the over 50 others purpoted to be interested in the job.
KENAKO! Lets Give The Job To One Of Our Own. Support him and provide him the needed logistics and of course pay him better. YES THEY WILL, YES THEY CAN!
Shaban Barani Alpha. Journalist with the New Crusading GUIDE newspaper
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