The request by the Serbian coach of the Senior National Team for three more assistants to support him to discharge his duties very well seems to very good. The reasons assigned sound great to many lovers and followers of the game. Like the local coaches know the players very well. They will also monitor the players in their respective leagues and also the group matches in the world cup.
However, I have a different opinion about the whole idea and decision. Let's all cast our minds back to the various times these local coaches have handled the Senior National Teams and the challenges they faced. I am not looking at anything like their failures, because they all had one issue or another with all the stakeholders of the game. These ranged from pressure from officials of the ministry, the football governing body, (Thank God, the controlling council of the FA has been re-organized), local club officials, player agents, colleague coaches, the media and (including so called sports analysts), acts of disrespect and gross in-subordination from some of the foreign-based players among others.
In the first place, how many people are needed to monitor the group matches and submit tactical information to the head coach, not forgetting the fact that individuals watch and perceive events, situations, issues and so many things differently. Let us remember that if a particular coach is tactically defensive, his masterpiece will be along that line and so he will monitor the opposing teams with regards to a defensive strategy against their attacking system. The same will apply to others with different tactical approaches to their games. When this happens with all the 'back-up' coaches coming with their ideas, which of them should or will be taken and implemented by the head coach. How will those, who in the course of the tournament, feel that their tactical ideas were not being taken and or implemented by the head coach feel, act or wish they team should fare? We should not act like this will never happen. Let us all look at what goes on when in our various divisional leagues, new coaches are appointed to replace old ones in the course of the league or even at the beginning of the season. Most of them go through a lot of challenges to find their feet.
Let us assume that the head coach, his assistant and the 'three to be added' have each been made the sole handler of the team. We should not forget that they will each have their own preference for particular players and they will also have their different physical, psychological and other approaches you can think of, which they think will help them win their games. We should also not forget that they have their own favourites they would wish to be included in every game and so they will come up with strong arguments for their 'idols' to play certain roles and positions therefore creating all sort of confusion in camp. I have a lot of respect for some of our local coaches, but I don't think they can impact positively in this direction. The call by the Serbian should not be taken lightly by the local coaches and be seen as a 'Valentine' or 'Christmas gift'.
Coaching in Ghana is not a lucrative job. In Europe and the Americas, coaches do not only manage clubs, they also act as consultants or advisors to schools and other organizations and so they are able to meet their financial needs. However, back in Ghana, because the work is not that enticing, some of them resort to all sorts of manipulations in the name of their 'Daily bread'. This reminds me of a coach friend of mine whom many players who passed through his hands, officials who worked with him as well as supporters of the clubs he worked for, said he usually asks for a 'He Goat 'and a substantial amount of money from the players and or their agents before recommending them to management for their registration.
I know that in the spirit of patriotism our local coaches owe it a duty to help, but they should have a second thought. Are you ready for the job because you will make up for all those allowances which have eluded you at one time or the other and in your capacity as a coach or assistant of one of the national teams? If that is the case, then be ready for more challenges. Will those to be appointed work whole-heartedly without having special interests in certain areas of their work? I will not be surprised to hear that just a minute after the request most of them have started lobbying for positions without thinking deep about what it will take to play that role. Who told you the coaches are united. Otherwise, how come even when 'A' is at post and his club contemplates about removing him, 'B' or 'C' starts lobbying and even go to the training grounds, when the former is not yet gone, to announce his presence and readiness to take over as soon as possible.
It is so interesting that the Serbian coach has asked for such a favour from the FA. I trust and respect him for the job he has done so far, but does he anticipate a failure and therefore want to share blame in future with the local coaches whose roles might not bring significant bearing on the team if not confusion in camp? I think with the CAN 2006 over, he will sit down and carry out a research with the other Technical and FA staff, the players as well as other coaches of the teams Ghana played with and even those we did not play, with just three parameters responses. 'What went well', 'What did not go well', and 'Suggestions for improvement'. He should bury pride and consider and respect ideas and opinions of members of his team and colleagues in the coaching fraternity. That will be of great benefit to him and champion the advancement of the national team. Whatever comes from the responses should then be given the attention it deserves in a fast and pragmatic way. This will be of great benefit than calling for three more brains to beef up the technical team.
I am not prophet of doom, but I personally see that move as soothing that will cause financial loss to the state, bring confusion in camp and break the spirit of team work in camp. The coach does not need that many hands to help him, except that he wants indirectly say that he cannot do the job, but would want to hang on till after he world cup.
Let us all sleep over the request by the coach and analyze the merits and demerits and see if it is very necessary to appoint 'THREE' more people bring confusion or positive influence in the camp of the Black Stars. The local coaches could be used effectively in a better than what the coach is asking that they do. I believe they all watched the CAN matches played by Ghana and other teams. They can review the performance of the players match after match and then prepare comprehensive analyses of every individual player's performance and that of the entire team (including positive recommendations for the inclusion or exclusion, where possible of some of the players) and submit to the head coach and his technical team for study, review and implementation. That will be of great help than physically bringing them in to the worst to happen to our team. The FA must hold a strategic meeting with the Serbian Coach to look for a better way forward other than the request for three additional local coaches.
I love the National Team, I love Ghana and so I will be very sad if we implement certain decisions to cause us in the World Cup.
Long Live the Black Stars. Long Live Ghana.
FRANCIS BONDZIE ARTHUR CHICAGO. USA. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.