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29.05.2008 Sports News

Me and my big mouthWhy not go the Egypt way?

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The decision by Ghana's football governing body, the GFA to engage the services of another light skinned coach typifies Biblical King Solomon's adage in Proverbs 26:11 which states “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

It also affirms my senior colleague, Kwabena 'Writer' Yeboah of Africa Sports fame, assertion that we have not learnt any lessons regarding the employment of expatriate coaches in the country.

Over the years, the expatriate trainers have stabbed us in the back in one way or the other after we have reposed so much trust and confidence in them.

Amazingly, four names- German Klaus Toppmoller, Serbians Illia Petkovic, Ljupko Petrovic and the Croatian Branko Ivankovic have come up in search of the Stars coaching job, and this has stirred many patriotic Ghanaians to caution the FA to look before they leap.

The latest, Claude Le Roy appeared on our football scene like a messiah but deserted us like his predecessor, Ratomir Dujkovic, when we needed his services most- just a few months to the World/ Nations Cup qualifiers.

The least I talk about Milan Zivadinovic who escaped with our hard currency the better, not to mention the Ralph Zumdics, Mariano Barettos and the list goes on and on.

Ironically, 95% of our soccer achievements were orchestrated by our own local coaches, yet we still believe that the white coaches have something better to offer us.

We have cited the lack of respect on the part of our foreign-based players to our local coaches as the reason of our refusal to engage their services.

If that reason is anything to go by, then our players are doing themselves and mother Ghana a great disservice since we seem to have totally jettisoned Ghana's first President's assertion that the Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs.

The sort of belief that we should have in our local coaches is best described by reggae legend, Robert Nesta Marley which is captured in his popular Redemption track, until we free ourselves mentally because nobody can do that for us (paraphrased).

Like the biblical prodigal son, who came to his senses and went back to his father after leading an extravagant life, I hope the Football Association have learnt from getting their fingers burnt in their dealings with expatriate coaches and should now resolve to look from within.

Chelsea football club told themselves they were not going to allow Liverpool to defeat them in the Champions League for the third successive time, and it happened as they purposed. It's high time the players, the technical team and the entire nation told ourselves that we will run the troops and leap over every wall to rewrite our names among the powerhouse of the continents football.

The success story of the current African champions, the Pharaohs of Egypt should be enough lesson to us that it is high time we invest in our local coaches and believe in them.

Their entire team revolves around local players with technical assistance coming from a local coach, Hassan Shehata, who proved tactically superior to all the expatriates who assembled in the 25th and 26th Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Egypt and Ghana respectively.

When they are well remunerated and accorded the same treatment as their foreign counterparts, with the players showing them the same level of respect as they do to the white coaches, the local coaches will be able to rise up to the occasion.

Malawi recently engaged the services of their former player- Kinnah Phiri as a coach, after former Black Stars coach Burkhard Ziese had failed woefully in handling them.

In a BBC report, Malawian F.A. stated "We've opted for local coaches because the previous two foreigners have not delivered to the expectations of the soccer-hunger Malawians," Nyamirandu said.

The Black Stars could have gone far in the last World Cup if they had done their home work well. Another opportunity has presented itself for us to demonstrate to the whole world that African soccer in general and Ghana soccer in particular has come full circle.

The team is still confronted with a striking problem which robbed us of the chance to travel far in the Germany World Cup and the Nations cup in Ghana.

I trust that Coaches Sellas Tetteh and Kwasi Appiah will concentrate on sharpening the edges of the attacking machinery. We should go the extra mile to search for top notch classical finishers since our strike force is still suspect, as depicted in our match with the Aussies.

After all, what shall it profit a team if it plays so well but fails to score as it happened in the World cup against Italy, Brazil and recently Australia.

As the Black Stars host Libya on Sunday, it's my prayer that the players as well as the local technical staff will psyche themselves and the team up, to win convincingly and to demonstrate that given the needed push they will succeed where the expatriate coaches failed. A word to the wise…

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