In less than a hundred days the nation will make its maiden appearance at the world cup in Germany. But many Ghanaians, (I dare say) even including the FA themselves are in a limbo as to who will lead the Black Stars in this unprecedented (at least to the Ghanaian) and much awaited soccer festival. What is preventing the FA from taking a decision about the future of the coach? Is Duya going or staying?
Several of the nations that participated in the nation's cup and, indeed, who will be going to the world cup have indicated, firmly, the future of their coaches. Tunisia have confirmed their confidence in Roger Lemiere, Keshi has received the sack, Zambia, who are not even taking part in any tournament (at least in the not-too-distant future) have given Kalusha the green light, while Arthur Jorge has honorably bowed out. But what is our FA doing?
I believe Djukovic is a brave man to be still walking on the corridors of the FA. I doubt if he has the peace of mind to do his job, unless of course of course he is pretending. Soon after the African nation's cup, the FA boss was heard announcing the continual cordial relationship between the FA and the coach. The FA did not mince words declaring its intention to retain Djukovic as coach. In taking this decision, the FA boss noted that “the performance of the team in Egypt was painful but is a blessing in disguise, because we were beginning to get complacent. As a football association we are confident that Djukovic can make this team better again.” Was this the FA boss speaking? Even though I thought such a decision was hasty considering that there was still time for some level of post-ANC analyses to be done I thought the decision was good for the future of the Black Stars. At least the coach was going to settle down and come up with a long-term winnable strategy for the team. Then the bombshell comes; “Ratomir Djukovic is yet to get the all-clear to lead the Black Stars to the World Cup finals.” What caused the sudden change in heart? In fact it is this ambivalence of the Ghana Football Association that beats my imagination. What were they thinking when they announced they were going to keep Duya? Are they being fair to the coach? Which individual in his right mind will be able to motivate him or herself to lead a team to victory in the midst of these goings-on? Who is the FA scared of?
What is interesting is that just recently the Deputy Minister of Sports, Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah speaking to a local radio station stated that the performance of the Black Stars' coach, Ratomir Djukovic is not up to expectation. So, why doesn't the FA then come out to say if Duya is going or staying? This did not end there, but I listened to the spokesperson for the FA, Mr. Randy Abbey, on TV3's Talks Sports hosted by Michael Oti Adjei say that the FA was yet to meet and take a decision about the coach. What meeting and which representatives at such a meeting took the earlier decision?
Indeed, I have had cause to lament about the Stars' performance in Egypt 2006 and even about their recent performance in their friendly against Mexico but I wonder if this apparent silence of the FA and the media crucifixion of the coach will help the cause of the Stars. If the FA thinks that by this behavior it is the coach who is at the receiving end, then they have got it all wrong. Duya may opt for another team but the Stars will suffer.
I will reiterate that even though the Stars' performance against Mexico was not very impressive, at least it was an improvement over their match against Zimbabwe. If I were the GFA, I would ask Duya to stay not because he has produced any magical performance but because we have no time to waste at this time. For the records under Duya the Stars played six matches in 2005; they drew with Congo (away) (1-1) won against Burkina Faso(home) (2-1), won against South Africa (away) (2-0), won against Uganda(home) (2-0), won against Cape Verde(away) (0-4), and won against Saudi Arabia (3-1). In 2006, the Stars have lost to Togo (0-1) lost to Tunisia (2-0) lost to El Masry (1-2) lost to Nigeria (0-1), won against Senegal (0-1), lost to Zimbabwe (1-2) and lost to Mexico (0-1). In reviewing this performance I believe anyone should also be careful to note that Duya qualified the nation to its maiden football mundial, midway through their qualifiers. I would agree with Coaches Cecil Attuquafio and Sarpong that there is no time for any new coach to marshal forces and produce magic at the mundial. There is no time for any exprimentation at this time. The disappointing performance at CAN 2006 alone should not be used as a yardstick to determine the future of the stars. Remember that top seeded Germany was crushed 4-1 but they are still optimistic about their chances for the tourney and in fact have confidence in Klinsman.
I have to admit though that I would not begrudge the FA it they decide to let the coach go if they feel his performance does not merit any extension after all they know better. After all contractual agreements are performance-related. I would, however, begrudge the FA if the have no immediate replacement for the coach.
What I am concerned about though is the suspenseful treatment they are giving the coach and for that matter Ghanaians. Wouldn't it be better if the Stars knew if the coach was going so that they would make early contacts with other coaches or that the coach was staying so that a proper plan for the Stars will be put on the table before disaster strikes? Does anybody remember what happened to Zaire in their maiden world cup appearance? Is Duya going or staying? Godwin Yaw Agboka Illinois State University USA Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.