Kwesi Appiah coach of Ghana during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations Ghana Press Conference on the 01 February 2013, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
One of the defining characteristics of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Presidency is the admission that he is in a hurry to fulfil his campaign promises and see to Ghana’s speedy development.
Black Stars’ coach Kwasi Appiah also seems to be in a hurry to get things right, for which reason he has hit the ground running by watching domestic competitions and getting his home-based national team together.
Tomorrow afternoon, Appiah will lead the CHAN team, otherwise known as the local Black Stars, in a friendly match against Benin at the Accra Sports Stadium as part of his preparation for the WAFU tournament to be hosted in Ghana in July.
Since taking over the Black Stars for the second time, Appiah’s every step has attracted media attention, and for good reason too — from his official unveiling by the GFA, his unannounced appearance at league matches to monitor players and his preparation of the squad at Prampram.
Tomorrow’s game with Benin will be keenly watched by the media and Ghanaians in general, even though it is too early to expect anything spectacular from the players generally selected from Premier League teams and one Division One side.
And for those who hold the strong conviction that good talents capable of being developed to challenge for positions in the main national team abound in the domestic competition, they will be looking for such signs in tomorrow’s game and in the WAFU Cup tourney in particular.
Unlike his predecessor, Avram Grant, who made only a few appearances at league games and rather junketed across Europe under the guise of monitoring Ghana’s foreign legion there, as well regular appearances as an analyst in the studios of Sky Sports TV, Appiah has chosen to get his hands dirty with the difficult task of building a strong home-based side.
Charity, they say, begins at home and Appiah seems to be making just the right moves at the moment and needs encouragement.
The building a solid home-based side is an essential component of a strong national team, for which Appiah and his able assistants must devote a lot of their energies and time to hone some of the fine talents on display in the domestic competition.
Showing a keen interest in the domestic competitions with his unannounced appearances at some league centres has sent a strong message to the players that Appiah has his eyes on them and this motivates them to give of their best in order to catch the coach’s eye.
For Appiah to give true meaning to his declaration at his unveiling that he would make the senior national team very competitive, he must identify top local talents and develop them to a point where they can give the established Europe-based stars a run for their money for positions in the Black Stars. This must be a deliberate effort, not a tokenism as we saw during Grant’s tenure.
It could be said of Appiah that during his first tenure as coach he introduced many young players such Baba Abdul Rahman, Afriyie Acquah, David Accam, Christian Atsu, among others, who have become established stars in the national team.
However, rather than take the easy option of just travelling around Europe to pick ‘ready-made’ players developed by foreign coaches, Appiah and his lieutenants must get down to work and develop the many raw talents that abound in the country who have the hunger and motivation to explode on the big stage when given the opportunity.
And if he manages to build a team capable of reaching the final or winning the CHAN for the first time, Appiah will have at his disposal a big pool to choose from and refresh the Stars with new and highly motivated players ready to wear the national jersey with s sense of pride.
Source: Graphic Sports