The second coming of Kwasi Appiah as coach of the Black Stars was greeted with mixed reactions. Some felt that his first attempt on the job did not yield the desired dividends.
Those opposed to his second coming cited the team’s poor showing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. According to that group of people, his inability to stamp out player indiscipline led to the Brazil debacle.
Ghana was reduced to international ridicule when, under pressure from the Black Stars players, it had to airlift $3 million to Brazil to pay bonuses.
But the Dzamefe Commission Report did not lay the blame on Coach Appiah’s doorstep. Rather, the Football Association (FA) and government officials were blamed for the Black Stars’ abysmal performance in Brazil. Ghanaians also know the circumstances under which Appiah was axed from the Black Stars, but some recall will suffice.
Shortly after the Brazil debacle, his contract was renewed for two years, albeit with some pockets of protests from some supporters and football administrators who thought he did not have the pedigree to continue as the Black Stars coach.
That sparked protests from others, who argued that Appiah deserved to be supported to achieve his mandate. But the football federation still went ahead to show him the exit.
Others even felt that Appiah was going to take the matter to another forum to challenge his dismissal, but in tune with his calm disposition, he accepted the decision and tried other endeavours.
Then the football federation began the search for another coach to replace Appiah. When the process began, many football administrators and a section of Ghanaians rooted for a foreign coach.
The FA settled on Coach Avram Grant who, during his tenure, spent very little time observing local players and always went to Europe on the pretext of scouting for Ghanaian players. Even when he took the GFA for granted, he was granted all the support, including a technical bench that included foreigners, but he failed to take us to the Promised Land.
When he was sacked and the search party began scouting for a new coach and Coach Appiah joined the job seekers, some notable football administrators went to town, threatening that he should not be given a second chance to coach the Black Stars. But the FA stood its ground and settled on Coach Appiah.
Then those who opposed his selection adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
After last Sunday’s whitewash of the Ethiopians by the Black Stars, the Daily Graphic wonders whether those people who had stood up against Appiah’s return have revised their notes and now believe that a Ghanaian coach can take Ghana to high places.
Football lovers saw some of Appiah’s charges at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium for the first time and they wondered whether it was a gamble by the coach.
Ghanaians were not disappointed by the performance of Appiah’s charges as they lived up to the task. The coach, at a certain stage, could not help acknowledging the high standard of play by his team. We appeal to all Ghanaians to support his unknown charges to grow and sharpen their skills to help Ghana qualify for AFCON 2019.
The team has major hurdles ahead of it to qualify for the next World Cup.
We urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned to help the present Black Stars regain the team’s past glory as the most fearsome national team on the continent.
We salute Coach Appiah for mustering the courage to include in his charges a crop of young and unsung players who did not disappoint him and the nation last Sunday.
The Daily Graphic hopes he will be able to groom the players to take over from some of the ageing players in his team.
If they continue to play with such commitment and passion as they exhibited last Sunday, we have no doubt that the Stars will be the toast of Ghanaians again.
We also doff our hats to Coach Appiah for settling on Ghanaians as his back-room staff, thereby ending the fixation for anything foreign, at least for now.