Profiling the foreign coaches in line to replace CK Akonnor

It has been over 20 hours since the dismissal of CK Akonnor as Black Stars head coach, and with the team still in the fight for a 2022 World Cup berth, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) sanctioned a 3-member committee to conduct an independent search for a new head of the Black Stars.

As fate will have it, media speculation and fan arguments seem to be augmenting the committee's search for a new Black Stars head coach.

In the last three years, the local coach bandwagon have enjoyed fruition of their campaigns, with the last two head coaches of the senior national team being of Ghanaian descent.

However, output since the advent of local trainers has not justified the shouts for their appointments and now, more and more Ghanaians are opening up to the prospects of foreigners leading the Black Stars.

In the 36 hour window, media reports suggest that foreign managers such as Lucien Favre, Alain Jean Giresse and Francisco Guidolin have submitted applications to take over the Black Stars job. Other names like Herve Renard and George Boateng have all popped up in the conversation.

Local names like Ibrahim Tanko, Samuel Boadu and others have also appeared as frontrunners for the job, but the antecedent set by Kwesi Appiah and CK Akonnor, leaves these personalities on tight ropes of securing appointment. To be honest, what the Black Stars needs at this moment is proven leadership and experience.

It is tough to mention which local coach has proven his mettle on the big stages, and as a result should be awarded the Black Stars job. All signals are pointing in the direction of the committee looking beyond the shores of Ghana, as they should.

Putting the current situation of the Black Stars and the politics surrounding the team into perspective, a local coach will only extend the intrusion of the GFA and other individuals in the affairs of the team.

From the names speculated as candidates for the role, there are some with certain personalities, which when appointed, will do the Black Stars a great deal of good.

Herve Renard

With two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) titles to his name, the Frenchman will obviously be one of the most qualified individuals for this Black Stars job. He remains the only coach to win two AFCON titles with two different teams.

His debut victory came in 2012, where he guided Zambia to the title and three years later, he repeated the feat with Ivory Coast, a country which for 23 years had struggled to replicate their 1992 achievement.

He took over the Moroccan national team in 2016 and despite a disappointing AFCON campaign in 2017, he led the Atlas Lions to Russia’s edition of the World Cup after an absence of two decades, from the competition.

He was appointed head coach of Ligue 1’s LOSC Lille in 2015, but was unable to leave a mark on the side which called for his dismissal after just 5 months.

However in his career as manager, Renard has overseen 206 games and secured 83 wins, 57 draws and 66 defeats. To support his case, Renard has experience with the Black Stars, following his servitude as one of the assistants to Claude Le Roy in 2008.

Renard in his career has often favored operating a 4-2-3-1, a system that could bode well for the Black Stars with players like, Iddrisu, Partey and Kudus who will be very good options for number 6, 8 and 10 roles respectively.

Prying him from Saudi Arabia where he has 10 wins in 14 matches will be a herculean task for the GFA, with the Frenchman reportedly receiving a salary of $100,000 per month.

The recent coach of the Black Stars, Akonnor signed a contract worth $25,000 per month, with reports in March of this year revealing he had gone 12 months without receiving his salary.

Lucien Favre

The Swiss has been reported as one of many foreign managers who have submitted applications for the vacant Black Stars head coach role. The 63 year old is one with a lot of European pedigree, following his Borussia Monchengladbach, Nice and Borussia Dortmund.

Despite his rich managerial CV, he has not coached any team at international level. Nevertheless, that should not be much of a stumbling block with the qualities he has displayed over the course of his career.

He is credited for rechanneling Borussia Monhengladbach and Hertha Berlin out of the backseats of the Bundesliga. In his first season with Dortmund, the club narrowly missed out on the title to perennial winners, Bayern Munich by just two points – the first time since 2010, where Dortmund won the title, a club had pushed Bayern all the way in a season.

During his stint with OGC Nice, he returned the club to the UEFA Champions League, after their 37 years of absence.

Besides his tactical ability, the Swiss is also competent in the handling of young players, with a world-renowned ability in the development of still-developing players, a storyline which is still being developed for the Black Stars, with players like Mohammed Kudus, Kamaldeen Sulemana and others. The Swiss is credited with the development of German attacker, Marco Reus during their time at Monchengladbach.

During his time as manager, he has been inclined to using a 3-4-2-1 system more. Jordan Ayew under Akonnor was always played as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1, a position which proved to be his weakness. A 3-4-2-1 will see him operating in half-spaces behind a more traditional striker, getting the best out of a player who has been a regular in the team.

Besides Jordan, players like Partey will be very comfortable in a double-midfield pivot and better still, the Black Stars defense which hasn’t been the best in a very long time, will have the security it needs.

Favre is also not a stranger to the 4-2-3-1. In his last job at Dortmund, he was earning approximately $4.8m per year.

In 794 matches, he has 387 wins, 173 draws and 234 defeats. He has won the German Super Cup once, the Swiss championship and Swiss Cup four times in total.

Alain Jean Giresse

The Frenchman is a well-traveled on the African football terrain, with management roles at Mali, Senegal and Tunisia.

Aside his African experience, he has some European pedigree after leading PSG to the Trophee des Champions in 1998. His stint at PSG was sandwiched by two spells at Toulouse of the French Ligue 2. Besides the 1998 Trophee des Champions triumph, he also guided Morocco’s FAR Rabat to the Coupe du Trone in 2003.

In 2012, Giresse guided Mali to beat Ghana to a third place finish in the AFCON tournament hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. That was Mali’s best ever finish in an AFCON tournament after they finished second in 1972.

He was reappointed in 2015 but was largely unsuccessful in that second spell, with Mali exiting 2017’s AFCON edition in the group stages. However he recorded 8 victories and 5 defeats in 18 his games after reappointment.

In his most recent jobs at Mali and Tunisia, Giresse largely alternated a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. Systems that could prove effective for the Black Stars. In a 4-3-3 with pacy wingers like Yaw Yeboah and Sulemana, feeding off Kudus and Partey in midfield, the Black Stars can be a lethal threat to opponents.

He earned $27, 863 monthly in his Mali job before joining Tunisia. It is reported he earned $25, 000 per month at Tunisia.

The Black Stars are currently still with hope of securing a 2022 World Cup berth, despite South Africa claiming top spot. On October 12, the Black Stars will have a new head coach and assistants ready to face a new-look Zimbabwean side, who also just recently dismissed their head coach.

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