Nothing is straightforward when it comes to Ghana football, even more so when it has to do with selecting a coach for the Black Stars.
The non-football shenanigans often range from the outrageous to downright ridiculous. It is a complicated mix of emotions, politics, club loyalties and pettiness.
While the announcement of CK Akonnor hasn’t come as a surprise to many, it has been met with scepticism or at best cautious optimism. How Akonnor has meandered his way to the top job of head coach of the Black Stars six months after being axed by Asante Kotoko is intriguing.
In July 2019, CK left his role as coach of Kotoko after winning the NC Special competition and securing CAF Champions League ‘money zone’ qualification for the Porcupine Warriors. Three months later he was named assistant to Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah, who had less than three months left on his contract. The public were largely calling for his head after an abysmal outing at the 2019 AFCON.
Another three months on, the Ghana Football Association announced the dissolution of all technical setups of the various national teams. Appiah’s contract would not be renewed. The initial reports were that he was to take over as interim coach but a little over a week later he’s emerged as the new head coach of Ghana’s senior national team.
There are more important considerations than competence according to football loving Ghanaians. The fundamental requirement for becoming the head coach of any country’s foremost football brand, in my opinion, is competence, proven by coaching certification and track record, provided there aren’t any diplomatic barriers. But for most Ghanaians the issue of expat or local origin takes precedence. The discourse before Akonnor’s appointment – or better still, after Kwesi Appiah’s exit – has been heavy on the subject.
In many ways, Akonnor has benefitted from the discourse and of course the politics. It is an open secret that the reappointment of Kwesi Appiah had a lot to do with the powers that be. I cannot say same for Akonnor but he appears to have benefitted from government’s reported insistence on a local coach.
Don’t get me wrong, Akonnor is good but as far as being qualified for the Black Stars job goes, we’ve lowered the bar for him considerably. It would have been impossible for him to earn the position had the GFA looked beyond the shores of Ghana to allow foreigners a chance.
His ten years experience as a coach in the Ghanaian topflight has yielded two notable achievements – NC Special Competition and an appearance in the group stage of the Confederation Cup. His coaching badges, complimented by internship at former club Wolfsburg and, other top European clubs is better than most, if not the best on the local scene. He’s an excellent communicator and a decent tactician, something Kwesi Appiah was not in the estimation of most Ghanaians. His only experience with a Ghanaian national football team in a coaching capacity is the three months he spent as Appiah’s assistant.
How that equips him for the murky waters of the Black Stars technical head is a question he himself will struggle to answer. The bigger question is this: would these have been the stated requirements if the position had been opened to ex-pats? It makes sense to demand more if you’re going to pay more. Akonnor’s appointment is in many ways a concession that if we want the best, at least on paper, we look outside.
There are levels to the game of football. It explains why there are classifications or divisions. CK Akonnor has proven himself competent in the Ghanaian topflight but I do not think he’s equipped to navigate the waters of international football.
Managing egos in the Black Stars dressing room is a herculean task that requires the right temperament and experience. The political machinations inherent in the Black Stars make the job even more difficult. Our desire to have one of our own in charge is commendable but sacrificing competence is not an acceptable compromise. If the Black Stars win, will Ghanaians really care where the coach comes from?
Akonnor comes in at a critical time. The next AFCON is barely a year away and Ghanaians will demand that fifth AFCON title. Qualified or not, ready or not, he must deliver. He has an opportunity to make a name for himself and a case for local coaches. He’s earned the job in part because of the desire of a nation to have one of their own in charge. His every move from this point will be scrutinized to vouch for his competence or incompetence.
Best wishes to him.
- Government to face difficult refinancing options in repaying maturing T-Bills – Report
- Ayew brothers dropped as Inaki Williams starts for Black Stars in Nicaragua clash
- 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering student tells story of how he begged for a plate of food
- Aisha Huang denied bail again as judge calls on judiciary to help save water bodies
- Fatawu Issahaku scores debut goal as Black Stars record narrow win over Nicaragua
- Luv News uncovers degradation of Tano Nimri Forest Reserve
- ‘Nicaragua won’t be as tough as Brazil’ – Otto Addo
- Pressure mounts on government to scrap SIM re-registration deadline
- Kirani Ayat calls out Akufo-Addo, Tourism Ministry after promo video featured shots from his ‘Guda’ visuals
- Samuel Boadu leaves Hearts of Oak by mutual termination
- Over 1000 children at Tepa enjoy free NHIS registration
- NDC dissociates itself from Akufo-Addo’s booing; says incident reflects mood of Ghanaians
- Four envoys present credentials to President Akufo-Addo
- We are receiving threats of contract termination – School Feeding Caterers
- IMF sounds alarm on UK tax cut plans
- Malawi’s John Chilembwe gets statue in London’s Trafalgar Square
- Medical and Dental Council’s directive only applies to students who are yet to graduate – Dr. Banyubala
- We provided opportunities for medical students from Ukraine to enroll in Ghanaian universities – Dr. Banyubala
- Galamsey takes over rice farms in Upper Denkyira East
- Claims GNPC is causing financial loss to the state in Genser deal misleading – Deputy Energy Minister
- The Council from 2017 had issues with medical training from certain parts of the world – Dr. Banyubala
- Police investigate drowning of Officer at Sefwi Amoaya
- Bui Power Authority committed to harnessing football talents within its enclave – Management
- Andre Ayew becomes Ghana’s joint most capped player alongside Asamoah Gyan
- West Africa Crypto and Fintech summit held in Accra