Otto Addo: The lanky winger who made history with Ghana

Otto Addo in action for Ghana during the 2006 World Cup

Fri, 1 Apr 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Feature

When Otto Addo’s name came up initially as one of the coaches under consideration for the Black Stars, many were those who questioned not just his competence but also his name as well as his pedigree.

In a manner akin to the famous ‘Arsene Who’ reaction when Arsene Wenger was first appointed by Arsenal, many eyebrows were raised when Otto Addo eventually landed the job in a new and strange Black Stars technical set-up.

The doubt over Otto Addo’s ability to engineer Ghana’s return to the World Cup was justified to an extent. Aside from the fact that recent appointments by the FA have failed woefully, Otto’s resume did not make for an impressive review.

When he is mentioned, the first and probably the only thing that pops up in memory is the lanky winger who played a bit-part role in Ghana’s first appearance at the 2006 World Cup.

Whiles Otto Addo had considerable talents, he was not a Michael Essien, an Asamoah Gyan, a Muntari or a Laryea Kingston. So even the ex-footballer factor did not favour him much, talk-less of a man who is a ‘mere talent/scout' for Borussia Dortmund.

But what many of the doubters did not exhort their minds to was the steady rise of Otto Addo in German football.

After officially retiring in 2008, Otto Addo took up a coaching job in the youth team of Hamburg SV where he worked his badges.


He leapt to their first team and held a dual role of an assistant coach of the team and a youth team coach. He moved on in 2015 to Borussia Monchengladbach as an assistant under Dieter Hecking.

In 2019, he made an emotional return to Borussia Dortmund as a talent coach but earned the promotion to be first-team assistant following the arrival of Edin Terzić.

A black non-German player occupying the technical role in one of German football's most coveted institutions is no mean achievement. You don’t attain such height by being a mere retired player, so for Otto to have risen to such a level in less than a decade shows that there is some coaching talent in him.

GFA President, Kurt Okraku’s revelation of being blown away by Otto Addo’s technical knowledge two minutes into their first meeting might be a hyperbolic representation of Otto Addo’s coaching acumen but what he exhibited in the two games against Nigeria gives more than enough justification of the FA’s decision to risk it with him.

Avid followers of the Black Stars would admit that the first leg in Nigeria was the first time since the 2014 World Cup game against Germany that the Black Stars played with a plan.

From the onset, Ghana’s plan to shackle the flanks of Nigeria by adopting a 3-4-2-1 when attacking was obvious with Baba Iddrisu becoming the third centre back and the lateral defenders becoming the extra men in midfield.

Though it is not out of place for Denis Odoi and Gideon Mensah to be praised for their performance in the first leg at the Baba Yara stadium, much of their defensive show was down to Otto’s tactics which crippled Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze.

Watch a review of the Ghana vs Nigeria World Cup playoff below

In the second leg, Otto Addo displayed balls and proactivity with his quick substitution which swung the flow of the game in Ghana’s favour.

After the first half when Nigeria were all over the Black Stars players, it was apparent that some tweaks were needed and Otto wasted no time in ringing those changes and it paid off.

Elisha Owusu calmed the midfield and tidied up well. Andy Yiadom brought stability on the right and the experiment to shift Denis Odoi to the left-wing-back role worked to perfection.

The incident involving Osman Bukari further gives an insight into the type of coaching Otto Addo will eventually become. It is said that teams are a reflection of the personality and beliefs of their coaches and on that occasion, Otto Addo displayed that his team will be averse to delay tactics and play quick-attacking football where everyone is involved in the defensive work just as the attacking job.

He has made history as the first Ghanaian coach to play at the World Cup and also qualify the team for the mundial. He is also the youngest coach to qualify Ghana to the World Cup.

The FA has a decision to make on retaining or releasing him but whatever the outcome may be, Otto Addo has demonstrated that he is one for the future.

Author: Perez Erzoah-Kwaw

Source: www.ghanaweb.com