The position of the National Athletics Coach for Ghana Athletics has been vacant for almost a year following the compulsory retirement of Albert Nukpezah but the National Sports Authority (GAA) says it will fill the void once it gets enough funds.
Coach Nukpezah retired before last year’s Olympic Games in Brazil and the position has been vacant since then.
Asked why no one has been appointed to replace him, Saka Acquaye, the Deputy Director General of the NSA, said his outfit had initiated moves to recruit a new coach but the process had been stalled by inadequate funds.
“Yes, the position has been vacant and I can tell you that one of the regional coaches who qualifies will be appointed to take up the job.
The process starts with the Human Resource Department providing the list of the regional coaches who are eligible for the job and then the shortlisted coaches will be taken through an interview process and the most qualified one will be appointed,” Saka Acquaye told the Graphic Sports in a telephone interview.
Asked how soon that would be, given the impact the vacuum could have on the already struggling sport, Mr Acquaye replied:”if there is money, we will do it.”
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In contrast, the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) said its programmes would not be affected in anyway by the absence of a national coach as it now works independently.
Erasmus Kwaw, the spokesperson of the GAA, explained that the national athletics coach was now considered as a technical director for the NSA in charge of athletics so the association was not under any obligation to work with him as the head coach, especially where it comes to national teams and international assignments.
“We have worked with different coaches in different international assignments and not necessarily the national athletics coach. So if a vacuum has been created by the retirement of Nukpezah, it becomes a technical deficiency at the NSA, but has no real impact on the GAA because the regional athletics coach are still available,” Kwaw explained further.
He denied rumours that US-based coach, Andy Owusu, has been made the national athletics coach by the Prof Francis Dodoo-led GAA, as he usually travels with the national teams to international assignments.
“To start with, Andy Owusu is not the national athletics coach. He is one of three coaches who are usually sent to international competitions as it happened during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
There is no such position, depending on which event dominates in the national team, coaches with those specialities are appointed as coaches to travel with the team,” Kwao explained.