(A GNA FEATURE BY WILLIAM EZAH, Banjul Gambia)
Banjul, Gambia, May 23, GNA - The saying that "A prophet is never accepted in his home" best describes the current status of Ghana's Fred Osam Doudou which he is enjoying in Gambia after his one year stay in the West African Country. Though Osam Doudou's victory over Ghana was shrouded in controversy, one cannot take away the fact that he was key in the progress of the team to the finals of the competition. Prior to his arrival in Gambia, the veteran coach had to struggle with teaching his players the basic tactics in football. For a country that is not noted of being a football nation in the sub region and with the background that she has never made any significant impact in both club and the continental levels in football to have made a dramatic entry into the finals of the Sixth Africa Under-17 Championship as well as qualify for the World Cup Edition, there is no doubt that all those involved will be treated as heroes for such an achievement.
But one person whose name will forever remain in the minds of the Gambians is the veteran Ghanaian coach, Fred Osam Doudou who is credited for building a formidable team right from the scratch up to this level. In every corner of Gambia, the Ghanaian is hailed as the messiah of Gambian football, because the current squad, according to the West Africans will form the base of their future national teams.
It will be interesting to note that the exploits of the Ghanaian has been dubbed as "The Osam Revolution" by the leading sports paper in the country, The Gamsports.
The paper quoted in its editorial "probably the best thing to have happened to Gambian football in the past five years is Osam Doudou. Osam is a man who wants success for the U-17 football and in finance".
According to the paper the coach in just one year shook the team up and took out a negative energy that had surrounded the national side for a couple of years.
The paper continued that the coach has built a team full of players that are hungry for success at all levels and has taught them how to play the beautiful game with a vision and a passion.
The paper also described Osam as the "legendary Ghanaian" who understands the true meaning of total football as a player and a coach.
The above quotations speaks volumes of the way the coach is revered in Gambia. For the ordinary man on the street they will only tell you "uh! Osam is good".
The technical competence of the Ghanaian is however undeniable and undisputable as his output on the local level too speaks for itself.
Having been made aware of the level of reverence given him in the Gambia, the coach believes the situation is different in Ghana.
According to him, he feels sad that Ghanaians, despite all his efforts and achievements do not give him the needed recognition.
Recounting his past records and achievements to the GNA Sports, Osam Doudou said he is credited with the success of the Black Stars in the Nations Cup in 1978 when they won the trophy, won Gold with the National Under-21 team in Mauritius in 1993 and went ahead to win silver at the World Cup in Australia in the same year.
Coach Osam Doudou said his exploits on the local level and youth development can also not be ignored.
On his ratings at FIFA and CAF, Osam is highly ranked as one of the best soccer instructors and is being sought after all the time to take up coaching courses for young coaches and no wonder Coach David Duncan of Ghana's Starlets is one of his graduates. "As I speak to you now Kenya and two other African countries are at my heels to take up appointments with them whilst FIFA wants to send me to another country to train coaches on their goal projects". Osam Doudou stated.
The success of Osam in Gambia is not a surprising feat but only adds up to his achievements as a coach. He has managed to build a formidable team for the Gambians and giving them their first world cup slot ever at the Under-17 level and has conducted series of coaching courses for young coaches in the country.
It will be noted that the coach's achievements within the one year stay in the country far outweighs the number of days spent in The Gambia.
Despite his exploits both in Ghana and outside, the coach seem unhappy.
This is because of the little recognition accorded him in his home country as the local FA seem not interested in tapping his rich knowledge of the game. He was even reported to have been under-utilised whilst serving in his last job as the Technical Director of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) leading to his exit to Gambia a year ago.
Coach Sam Doudou wonders why his exploits are not recognised but many prefer to give him a bad name. Does he see well? Is one of the accusations often made against him with allegations that the coach does not see well hence cannot deliver.
"Who told you I can't see well, even when I'm coaching I remove my glasses, my eyes are in good conditions and I don't know why Ghanaians continue to think that way".
"They also claim I'm too old but they do not know that in coaching the more you grow the more experienced you become". Coach Osam Doudou declared.
The former Technical Director of the GFA is however not bothered by all the negative assertions made against him and is still ready to serve his nation in any capacity befitting him.
According to him, he is not eyeing the job of the Black Stars but believes his vast experience and connections at the corridors of CAF and FIFA will be of a great benefit to Ghana.
He said he is however not yet ready to set foot in Ghana now as he has an unfinished business in the Gambia, first to take them to the World Cup in Peru and to continue with the youth policy.
Coach Osam Doudou told the GNA Sports that he is planning a return to Ghana for the CAN 2008 competition.
"The CAN 2008 has for the past times preoccupied my mind and I believe there is something I can contribute to the successful hosting of the event".
When quizzed about his retirement from the game, the coach said he would continue coaching till the time the good Lord calls him, adding that "after all there are coaches who are older than me".
The big question now is whether the voice of the coach will be listened to?.
He is in the same soup with Jones Attuquayefio, former coach of Accra Heart of Oak who masterminded the qualification of Benin to its first Nations Cup and became an instant hero.
form of corporation outside whilst Ghana on the contrary give better treatment to expatriate coaches. Many Ghanaian coaches believe when given half of the support given to the "white" coaches they could also perform better but as to whether this will ever happen remains unanswered.
But coach Osam Doudou and those in the same soup have taken consolation in the biblical quotation which says a prophet is never accepted in home but he will remain a hero forever and ever in Gambia.