Laryea Kingston started taking baby steps in management a few years ago, and this week he's put on another pair of shoes on his journey to the top.
The former Ghana international has officially been unveiled as head coach for an initiative between English giants Chelsea and global healthcare brand, Rexona.
This 'Be the Next Champion' campaign will see a gathering of Africa's best players – called the Africa 11 – who will face a Chelsea Legends 11 at the Stamford Bridge later this year.
Ghana will contribute one player to the African team, and Kingston will be in charge of the nationwide selection process.
“The most important thing is the team talk,” Kingston says of how to inspire players in the dressing room. “I have been in their shoes before and I know how players feel. I know the kind of speeches and encouragement players need before they enter the field.”
Laryea, who is barely five years into his managerial career, is looking forward to this challenge.
“I will try to give them the right speeches and encouragement in order to bring out their best. In football, there are lots of opportunities. If you don’t get the opportunity here, the door will open somewhere else.”
And he has a word of caution to prospective players who will perform below optimal levels. “Any player that comes will give his best hence, make selection difficult for me. Players will have problem with me when they give me 50 to 99 percent!”
“I will urge every player to give me 110 percent to make my work difficult. I know it is going to be difficult but I will come back with something.”
The former midfielder will supervise the nationwide selection process which begins after users of Rexona deodorants buy the product, enter an online draw, and take part in one of several regional competitions.
"It's initiatives like these that help to bring out the hidden talents. The thing is, if even someone takes part and doesn't get chosen, the probability of now being noticed for the future increases. That is priceless."
Laryea made 41 appearances for the Black Stars and was one of the key protagonists as the senior national team qualified for the first World Cup in 2006, though he did not feature due to a controversial suspension. He will be working with a former partner-in-arms during their playing days, Michael Essien, during this talent hunt.