Laryea Kingston's entry into substantive coaching has been everything he imagined. He has had the right platforms to showcase his talent. Most importantly, he has enjoyed the support and confidence of the people.

And it is not at all because he is a legend of the game.

He has earned the adulation because he is checking all the right boxes.

Laryea's teams - Right to Dream Under-18 and Black Starlets - have played an expansive, attacking brand of football that leaves you spellbound. Against Cote d'Ivoire last week, his Black Starlets team showed they could be conservative when compelled to while retaining devastating efficiency.

Against Benin on Tuesday, they scored from a 27 pass-move. That kind of patient, yet purposeful passing interspersed with ridiculous individual ability has enchanted Ghanaians.

Beyond the football, Laryea brings excellent communication skills that is a refreshing break from the norm.

Laryea Kingston has taken to the dug out like a duck to water

After beating Cote d'Ivoire 5-1 in the WAFU B championships, Laryea shocked Ghanaians when he ripped into his players.

"Throughout this preparation, every team that we’ve played, we’ve dominated play. [In] our last tournament in Russia, we lost against Russia. First 15 minutes we were down 3-0 but we dominated the play. Against Serbia, we dominated play, against Kazakhstan, we dominated play. [In] our friendly game against Niger, we dominated play as well," said Kingston after the game.

He would later diagnose their problems to be opening-day nerves and anxiety. They rushed, over-hit passes and could not find the right passing ones as a result.

Perhaps more importantly, Ghanaians want him to succeed because of the country's serious coaching deficit.

At the moment, you would struggle to find top Ghanaian coaches. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying there are no coaches. We do.

But the ones we have are either not able to sustain success - like Samuel Boadu who won four major trophies (1 league title, 2 FA Cups, and one Super Cup) only to superintend over eight months of irredeemably bad football. Or respected coaches like David Duncan and C.K Akonnor who do not have the titles to back them.

Underneath the two categories of coaches, lies a common denominator; ideas. Quality, revolutionary ideas. The best of our football is a product of poorly imitated, misapplied methods that were fabricated half a world away. Imitating in itself is not a problem.

The principles that underpinned the late Charles Kumi Gyamfi's coaching were forged in Germany. When Ghanaians celebrate the three Africa Cup of Nations titles he delivered, no one even remembers that he was trained in Germany. Or where the ideas came from. 

The late C.K Gyamfi shares a hearty moment with his peers in Germany in the 1960's

The same can be said of Josep, son of Guardiola. No one has ever complained about the origins of his methods. But what these two men have, is what Ghana's coaches have lacked for a while; a capacity to take existing methods and adapt them to meet the ever-evolving needs of the game. 

If you take any of the good teams from the previous 20 years, they all play practically the same way, with tiny, tedious variations. The hope is that Laryea Kingston will be different. That the principles that have served Laryea well will have a transformative effect on our football.

But even before Laryea becomes fully fledged, he has to confront a familiar foe.

Pro bono

Laryea Kingston works pro bono, for now. As have many of Ghana's national team coaches before him. Apart from the Black Stars and Black Queens coaches, all of Ghana's national team coaches work without pay.

The only monies they receive are winning bonuses and per diems. Even those monies are not always paid. In September 2015, Ghana’s Black Queens, fresh from winning gold at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville, refused to leave the M-Plaza Hotel where they were lodging, in protest against unpaid bonuses.

Behind the smiles on the pitch, the Queens have always been mistreated

Eight years later, their juniors, the Black Princesses are also owed bonuses from their World Cup Qualifiers. Even when the Sports Ministry was paying the $3,000 African Games winning bonus to the ladies, not all members of the technical team were paid. The Ministry explained that it only budgeted for a limited number of backroom staff.

Ghana's Sports Ministry has an inexplicable inertia towards offering contracts to these coaches. 

The irony of this arrangement is that, even though they are not offered, and as a result do not sign any contracts, they are bound by the code of conduct and ethics that govern public service. They are expected to uphold the strictest standards of professionalism, discretion, sacrifice, and integrity. Integrity.

Yet, the Sports Ministry has essentially created a system that leaves him Laryea Kingston, and other national team coaches, susceptible to bribery. In 2017, Paa Kwesi Fabin, then coach of the Black Starlets, lifted the lid on the temptations to accept bribes.

“I have been constantly approached by player managers, agents, and club officials to get their players into the national team. The highest amount I have been tempted with as a bribe is $5,000. I always say that I will not take bribes to discharge my duty so despite the several attempts to bribe me, I never fell foul.” Paa Kwesi Fabin told Happy FM.

That is how much players, their agents or assigns are willing to pay just to have their way. I am not sure when this practice of not paying national team coaches will change. But one thing is clear; it is possibly the biggest threat to an independent, professionally assembled national team.

Whoever the coaches are, they would have to be good first. Not just good, but good enough to have a transformative effect on our game. Until then, we will cheer for Laryea Kington. Or whoever shows signs of life.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.