By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Thursday, September 11, 2014
My good friends, I am saddened by the news report carried by Myjoyonline that the Black Stars coach, Kwasi Appiah, has been removed and replaced with Serbian trainer Milovan Rajevac as head coach of the Black Stars.
Here is the news report in part: "Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah has been relieved of his position as head coach of the senior national team. The decision was reached today at a board meeting of the GFA. Mr. Appiah is being accused of bad faith after he granted a radio interview in which he said that he had not asked for a technical assistant, contradicting the position of the GFA.
Sources close to FA say the condition under which coach Milovan accepted to Ghana's was that he is made the substantive coach. He refused to be technical assistant to Kwasi Appiah, the source said. The GFA has scheduled a meeting with Coach Appiah tomorrow Friday, at which the FA will discuss his severance package with him.” (Read the rest here: http://www.myjoyonline.com/sports/2014/September-11th/black-stars-coach-kwasi-appiah-sacked.php).
The conspiracy against Kwasi Appiah has taken long to hatch and effect. When he took over the coaching of the national team, we were happy that, at least, a locally brewed coach would for once be in charge of affairs to build a formidable team for Ghana's good. He might have a lot to face, but he did his best, ensuring that the team qualified for the World Cup tournament.
The team's routing of Egypt on the way to qualifying for the Brazil tournament is a record to be credited to him and the players who "killed" themselves for Ghana's good. Apparently, Ghana's chances of qualifying had been slim until then. Tons of praise went to him and the players, which explained why he led the team to Brazil in high hopes of either exceeding the team's record at the 2010 tournament (reaching the quarter final stage) or, at least, saving face.
We all know what went wrong for the team to perform poorly and be kicked out, not to mention the scandalous conduct of some players and team officials. The Presidential Commission now investigating the team's participation in the event is already unearthing bizarre issues that in the long run can be traced to the former Minister of Youth and Sports (Elvis Afriyie Ankrah) and the gang that worked with him to fleece the country. A stiff punishment awaits them, that is, if propriety and conscience should guide the Commission's work and the final authority to implement the Commission's report.
In all that has happened so far, Coach Kwasi Appiah has remained disciplined and conscientious. He may have his problems as far as coaching the team is concerned, but I don't think that he has failed to do what he is in office for; and dismissing him from office is the least option available to the government or the Ghana Football Association.
The reason given for the decision is as lame and untenable as portrays the negative minds of those who took and effected it. How can they talk about breach of trust when they themselves are not trustworthy? The team's current performance at the qualifying stages of AFCON 2015 is nothing to lose sleep over. After all, soccer is a game of chance and winning all matches can't be determined in advance nor can a coach be held solely liable for the team's poor showing unless specific inadequacies can be established and traced to him as the cause of doom.
In another sense, why should the GFA Board renew Coach Appiah’s contract barely three months ago, raise his emoluments, only to turn round to get rid of him now? Something fishy stinks here!!
Some may claim that he doesn’t have what it takes to coach a national team like the Black Stars. Or that he lacks the expertise, the confidence and completely not sure of himself. He is not assertive, they add, and think that he also lacks the courage to manage the egos of the current crop of players we have. Finally, the claim is that his contract shouldn't have been renewed in the first place.
I disagree strongly. Is it now that those inadequacies are known? And what is professional development meant for? Couldn’t he have been supported to hone his skills instead of being given this raw deal? Ghanaians are the cause of their own sorry plight, I daresay. Anybody who celebrates the removal of Kwasi Appiah must be walking with his head down.
I strongly condemn this decision to axe Coach Kwasi Appiah in favour of someone who is known for whatever he is. I am not proud of this Serbian "mercenary" soccer coach. I hope when he settles down to crack the whip, no one will turn round to accuse him of racism!!
This Serbian trainer Milovan Rajevac is not new to us, having already dealt with the national team and left in despicable circumstances created largely by him. Why bring him back? I suspect strongly that those behind the decision to bring him back have a huge stake in the benefits to be paid him and won't relent unless tackled. I know the Ghanaian and kickbacks. There is something seriously wrong that the government must not condone.
I ask that Coach Kwasi Appiah be restored and his dignity ensured. Why can't we ever be proud of our own local experts and encourage them to do better instead of pushing them into the dustbin? I don't think that going for a foreign coach will solve whatever the problem facing the national team is. Why are Ghanaians in positions of trust so narrow-minded and inimical to their own? Kwasi Appiah deserves better!!
I shall return…
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