Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughGhana leads the way in coaching development - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Ghana leads the way in coaching development - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Ghana leads the way in coaching development

Many Ghanaians called for the head of coach James Kwesi Appiah after the Black Stars’ shock shootout defeat to Burkino Faso in the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations.

Subsequently, it was widely expected that Appiah would be relieved of his duties following another surprise defeat to Mali in the 3rd place playoff. However, opposing strong public pressure, the Ghanaian FA decided against the sacking of Appiah and have instead opted to send their coach to England for specialised training courses.

This can be viewed as a groundbreaking move, not just in African football but across the global game. Perhaps lessons can be learned at home from the Ghanaian FA’s patience in Appiah and their willingness for him to succeed at a time when those in charge are all too keen to pull the trigger as soon as things start to go wrong.

James Kwesi Appiah – a former national team captain – was appointed as coach of the Black Stars after he guided their under 23 side to success at the 2011 All-African Games.

Ghana have won the African Cup of Nations on four occasions, yet have not lifted the trophy since 1982 in spite of having qualified for their inaugural World Cup in 2006 and reaching the quarter finals just four years later in South Africa 2010.

The Black Stars – who were missing veteran Michael Essien and AC Milan star Kevin-Prince Boateng for this year’s tournament – were widely expected to beat relative minnows Burkino Faso in the semi-finals, especially after the match referee controversially denied Ghana’s opposition several genuine penalty claims, sent off their star man and ruled out a perfectly legitimate Burkinabe goal.

However, Burkino Faso fought through adversity and managed to secure a 3-2 penalty shootout victory leaving Ghana and their supporters shell-shocked. This was Ghana’s second unforeseen semi-final exit from the African Cup of Nations in two years – in 2012 they were defeated 1-0 by eventual champions Zambia.

Upon the Black Stars’ exit from the tournament, Ghanaian FA President Kwesi Nyantakyi commented: “We reviewed Ghana’s participation at this competition and are very quick to admit that the performance fell below the expectation of every one of us.” “We render an unqualified apology to all Ghanaians. Very useful lessons have been drawn.” “We also looked at the coaching department led by the head coach – Kwesi Appiah. He did very well. However, we think the team could have done better.

After this statement, it was felt that Appiah’s remaining tenure in the Ghanaian dugout would be short lived. However, in an incredible and perhaps unorthodox u-turn, the Ghanaian FA have instead chosen to place their trust in Appiah by sending him to Europe for coaching courses, believing this to be the sensible step to take for the future of the Ghanaian national team.

This season, over 30 managers across 92 league clubs in English football had been sacked before we entered February. Perhaps over-ambitious club chairman throughout England and beyond can take a leaf out of Ghana’s book and invest in their club’s future by investing in their manager, instead of prematurely showing him the exit door.