Let Grant be in-charge­ — Thompson

BY: Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo

 A member of the Black Stars Management Committee and chairman of the GFA Legal Committee, Mr Ernest Thompson, has tasked the local soccer governing body to put Black Stars coach, Avram Grant, in charge of the CHAN team to compel him to stay in the country and scout for local talents.

He recalled how a similar arrangement by the GFA enabled the then Stars’ Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac, to steer the home-based national team to the final of the maiden African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 and urged the FA to repeat same now to help improve the lot of Maxwell Konadu’s team which failed to qualify for the biennial tournament for the first time last Friday.

 

Elaborating on a point he raised in his role as chairman of last Friday’s PLB Awards in an interview with the Graphic Sports, Mr Thompson, who is also the Director-General of SSNIT, noted that there seems to be a gap between the Black Stars and the other national teams usually coached by local coaches which can only be bridged with the appointment of Coach Grant as the CHAN team handler.

“The FA should put Grant in charge of the CHAN team; that will compel him to stay in the country and monitor local talents.

“The GFA did so with Milo (Rajevac) and should do same for Grant so he can be encouraged to stay in the country and help develop local talents,” Mr Thompson stressed.

To buttress his argument that there are still good local players who can be monitored and groomed for the senior national team, the longest-serving Hearts Board secretary revealed how Ashantigold defender, Lawrence Lartey, emerged as the best player when he featured for the Black Stars against Congo in a recent ceremonial match in Brazzaville.

He also emphasised on the need for a paradigm shift in the funding of sports since Ghana Sports cannot continue to rely on government funding and corporate sponsorship as was evidenced in the Stars’ bonus row at Brazil 2014 and the recent one involving the Black Queens after the All Africa Games.

He, therefore, recommended the institution of a sports fund to address the issue.

Mr Thompson also observed that though Ghana had achieved a lot in football, the same cannot be said of the management of the game.

“We’ve done well on the pitch when it comes to football, but we still have issues with corporate governance. The World Cup saga is a clear evidence as it appeared at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that we’re still grappling with corporate governance,” he explained.

“We also need to take a critical look at the whole technical directorate at the FA to move on from where we are like England where the English FA helps national team coaches.

“A strong technical directorate can monitor our foreign-based players and feed coaches with information on players just as Coach Grant’s agent does for him,” he stated.