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Pep, Mourinho, Essien for Black Stars job
Coach Michael Essien delivering a midfielders advice to @magnuskandersen during a friendly game

Pep, Mourinho, Essien for Black Stars job

Can it be confirmed or denied that GFA officials who were not physically present at AFCON were paid GH¢100,000.00 each?

The Daily Guide newspaper columnist’s disclosure this week did not state the number of officials involved, nor indicate if it is one of those payments which FIFA sanctions co-efficiently and which governments can do nothing about.

My beef is not with how many officials benefited; as far as I am concerned if even one official has been so unconscionably paid, it merits action by the Sports Minister.

Failing a GFA denial, I will petition Parliament (at least, I can count on Okudzeto Ablakwa) to speak for the poor.

 It would be a criminal act by an unfeeling privileged class who have no conscience.

Togbe Afede did not return his Council of State allowances because he was rich: he did because he had a conscience and integrity.

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O, Ghanaians! So hard is our labour, so excruciating is the pain of the economic whips on our backs that the sweat on our brow has the colour of blood.

Where are we getting help from?

The people must be able to trust someone, be it the Minister or the President, to care enough to step in.

I am counting on the sense of integrity of Dr Randy Abbey of Metro TV’s ‘Good Morning Ghana’ to use his respected position on the GFA to make this an issue.

Kurt Okraku has “revealed” that his vision is to win an AFCON and qualify the Black Stars for the World Cup.

What else was he elected to do?

To hire and fire coaches? 

At any rate, where is his blueprint?

Job

Now to my headline above.

It is not true that the GFA is in touch with Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Michael Essien for the Black Stars coaching job.

The headline is the figment of my own imagination, my personal solution to the national disgrace that engulfed the nation in the last two AFCONs.

My proposal was this: invite the three — I actually added the former Manchester United boss, the gum-chewing super-performing coach, Alex Ferguson; pay them good money and hand over the Black Stars to any one of them.

A senior colleague, however, shot down my proposal even before the saliva had dried on my lips.

He has been in football administration all his life, so I listened to him. 

His verdict: the best of coaches will only constitute a nicely decorated superstructure placed upon the weak foundation we have laid in Ghana since the overthrow of the First Republic.

His reference is Ghana’s first sports administrator, Ohene Djan, the most successful sports administrator in Ghanaian history.

What was the Ohene Djan plan?

His scouting started in elementary schools.

The best picks formed the Colts’ teams.

Colts’ matches were the curtain raisers in the Premier League matches and, therefore, were watched by scouts and founders of football clubs.

The best among the Colts got promoted to Divisions One, Two and the Premier League.

From the Premier League clubs, Ohene Djan harvested the promising ones to join the Real Republicans.

The Republicans were the standing Black Stars.

To maintain their form, they were made a part of the Premier League club, competing weekly.

It is better than the “frafra-kobo” arrangement where players, disparately picked from among Ghanaian players abroad, are handed over to the coach three weeks before a tournament, a coach who does not know or “feel” the players in a team setting.

In the last AFCON, I am told some of the players couldn’t speak any Ghanaian language, not even English.

How do they bond in two weeks?

So what’s the way out? In a situation where a Ghanaian local player gets whisked off to the EPL, La Liga, etc. after scoring three goals for Kotoko, Hearts or Dreams FC, how can we produce and consistently keep players of the quality of Opoku Afriyie, Adolf Armah, Mfum, Baba Yara, Osei Kofi and Aggrey Fynn, when Man U, West Ham and Chelsea are offering £90,000 a week?

How did we produce the Black Stars batches that qualified for the World Cup?

Can we pick a page from that book? 

Can we try the Senegal experiment that worked, namely pay local coaches of the calibre of Essien, retain them even when they lose their first two AFCONs or fail to qualify for the World Cup and maintain a consistently high-quality crop of players from both the local and foreign leagues?

Aliou Cissé, the national team player who metamorphosed into the Senegal national team coach, was maintained over a long time, come hell, come high water, through painful losses, including being knocked out in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

But he bounced back, won the AFCON and went far in the World Cup.

If Okraku has an AFCON win and a World Cup dream, he must produce a blueprint, not trade insults.

The writer is Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Culture.

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