The penchant for Ghana Premier League clubs to go for foreign coaches is not new.
There were those who lasted long, such as Romanian Petre Gavrilă’s four-year stint for Hearts between 1991 and 1995. And there were those who breezed through, such as Norwegian Kjetil Zachariassen’s short, five-month stint between July and December 2019.
AshGold had been training for months under Ricardo da Rocha, but once the Ghana FA’s Club Licensing regime insisted all Premier League coaches needed to have License A badges, the Brazilian had to go. The league began on December 29 with no non-Ghanaian in the dugouts. In the course of the last two months, five teams have moved from their local gaffers to expats.
Goran Barjaktarević (Bosnia) - Legon Cities
Before the second matchday, the former Wa All Stars set up was manned by Wahid Mohammed, popularly known as a former captain of Liberty Professionals in his playing days. Under his watch, the team drew Liberty. It was after that game that the Bosnian Goran Barjaktarević took charge, against Kotoko in a well-attended Friday night game.
“I want us to play possessive and exciting football, but it will take time,” he declared at his first presser. In the intervening eight games, they’ve won twice. It is widely agreed that Legon Cities play attractive football, but endurance is an issue – something Goran admitted after the loss to the Porcupine Warriors.
“We are building our capacity to play at full consistency for 90 minutes, and the players understand where we are going, so that is good.”
Kasim Gökyildiz (Turkey) - AshGold
The Miners’ plans were scuppered by the news that Da Rocha would not lead them into the season. Assistant Yakubu Mambo held the fort until AshGold played on matchday 5, by which time they had won three, drawn against Legon Cities and lost against Chelsea.
Kasim Gökyildiz (left)
Step forward Kasim Gökyildiz. The 54-year-old took over against Medeama and promptly lost. Then he beat Ebusua Dwarfs, drew Hearts of Oak and beat Liberty Professionals.
The Miners have had a reputation for making Len Clay a fortress but this season, teams have gone there with not much to fear.
By Friday afternoon, news was filtering in that the Turk has been sacked by AshGold because he does not possess a License A cert as well. That information cannot be independently verified as yet.
Slavisa Bozicic (Serbia) – King Faisal
An odd case, if there ever was one. Widely regarded as not ready for the league before the season started, because of the abrupt nature of the decision to reinstate them, King Faisal’s football has actually been decent.
And yet, the results have not helped – they’ve not won a single game this season despite being joint-second highest-scoring team in the league. Currently averaging 1.3 goals per game, they have been expressive in attack, scoring 12 goals in total.
Alhaji Gruzah has publicly backed his manager, but will it last, considering they sit bottom of the league?
Bechem United and Berekum Chelsea
Bechem United and Berekum Chelsea have been led by Kwaku Danso and Joseph Asare Bediako so far. However, both teams have employed ex-pat coaches who are awaiting either work permits or some form of official documentation to be completed. Considering that they are seventh and fifth, one would wonder why they are bent on changing their local coaches.
Or is it the case that the expats are controlling things from the sidelines, anyway?
Whatever the case may be, once the two clubs do get their preferred expats in charge, the list of foreign coaches in the Premier League will increase to five.