Why Avram Grant might succeed in landing Ghana job

Avram Grant

Sat, 11 Oct 2014 Source: footy-ghana.com/christopher opoku

I will not pretend to agree with the process the Ghana Football Association is using to select the next coach for the Black Stars.

I will not pretend to agree that opening the position up for applications is the right way to go and I will not even pretend to agree with the whole process in the first place.

For starters, I still believe that Maxwell Konadu should have been given a short term deal, until after the 2015 African Nations Cup, so that enough time would have been devoted to finding a proper replacement if Konadu is not deemed good enough after that period.

I know I have been branded as doing PR for Konadu, but frankly I don’t care. I still stand by that belief.

Secondly, a country of Ghana’s stature in the world of football should be headhunting a coach, instead of opening applications.

No top coach worth his salt would want to apply and run the risk of being rejected, since that hurts their public images. In that sense, opening up the job for applications would not necessarily produce the right candidates.

Again, even after opening up the applications, it is not necessarily the best candidate that would be selected but the most affordable one, since the Ghana Football Association itself is not exactly swimming in money.

This brings me to the shortlist that has now been confirmed by the GFA. A careful look at the list turns up some interesting things.

Of all five candidates, Avram Grant is the only one with the experience of being the head coach of any national team for a long period of time, and in his case, the Israeli national team from 2002-2006.

Marco Tardelli had a disastrous spell in charge of Egypt from 2004 – 2005, whilst Michel Pont was for many years the assistant coach for the Switzerland team.

Despite a distinguished playing career, Patrick Kluivert has only had experience being the assistant coach for the Netherlands team at the 2014 World Cup and he is yet to actually act as a head coach for any team.

Juan Ignacio Jimenez has had experience managing in the Spanish top flight, but has also not coached any national team.

Personally, none of the above-mentioned coaches strike my fancy because if Ghana wants to go in for a top notch expatriate coach, none of the aforementioned coaches would have been on the list.

Having said that, for the purposes of considering the squad itself, I believe that Avram Grant is not just the most experienced of the five, but also the best equipped of the lot to do the job.

He was the first head coach to take Chelsea to a UEFA Champions League final in 2008 and he only lost on penalties to Manchester United. He also took Portsmouth through to the FA Cup final and interestingly enough, had Kevin Prince Boateng converted a penalty in that game, Portsmouth could probably have beaten Chelsea. Instead, Chelsea won 1-0.

He has therefore had the experience of managing big stars and big egos, which could come in handy with respect to players like Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng and he actually worked with Essien and Boateng.

The 59-year-old also comes across as a fatherly figure who would inspire respect from his charges and that could very well calm down tensions in the Black Stars camp.

What his detractors might use against him would be the fact that in the same year that Portsmouth reached the final, the club was relegated.

Similarly, Grant failed to keep West Ham United in the Premier League during his time in charge.

What is intriguing is that when he was linked with becoming the technical director of the Black Stars before the World Cup, my sources tell me that he was prepared to do that for nothing.

I am reliably informed that because of that, strangely, the deal fell through.

Some might also argue that despite his relative inexperience, Patrick Kluivert could become a success with the Black Stars because of his experience of playing football at the highest level.

Some would also say that Marco Tardelli’s many years as an assistant coach could stand him in good stead if he gets the job and the same would apply to Michel Pont.

Juan Ignacio Jimenez would probably see this as a new challenge because he has never been involved in a national team set up.

The debate would certainly continue ahead of the interviews next week and as I said, I don’t agree with the process and neither would I have picked any of the five men, but out of the five, I believe that Grant is probably the best choice for the job and if his demands are not too much, he could very well end up getting it.

Source: footy-ghana.com/christopher opoku