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Sports Features of Monday, 7 January 2013

Source: Papa Appiah

It’s Official! Kwesi Appiah Has No Clue!!

Its official! Kwesi Appiah has no clue! But I do not blame Mr James Kwesi Appiah one bit. I blame the GFA for deciding, for whatever reason, to force down our throats a 52 year old coach with no real experience of coaching.

Someday, Kwesi Appiah will grow up, in coaching terms of course, for the guy is no spring chicken, and he will realise, that football players are no machines that can be started and stopped at his whim. He will realize, that footballers, irrespective of who they are, what clubs they play for or how much they are paid are mere mortals whose performances are influenced by what emotional state they happen to be in.

Someday, Mr Kwesi Appiah will come to realize, that while fans may applaud him for an over-zealous, targeted enforcement of discipline, a football camp is no military barracks and once the results start to go wrong as they will inevitably do, the same fans will begin to question the wisdom in leaving out one of our best players for the sake of a day or two.

There is a very thin line between being a football disciplinarian and making a right mess. And many of the top coaches know that. Each case has to be judged on its merit and common sense must always prevail. So while a coach like Fabio Capello is reputed to be one of the toughest coaches ever, he is the same man who was happy to lose his job fighting for his captain. Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest disciplinarians in the game, yet he is the same man who found it necessary to treat Eric Cantona slightly differently from the rest of his players to get the best out of a skilful but rather moody player.

Therein is the dilemma. How does a coach treat each player differently and yet produce a unified, motivated, inspired side to produce results? I never said it was easy. But that is why it is a professional job that is supposed to be done by well-qualified professional men. Even I could do what Kwesi Appiah is doing – get rid of unpopular players however good they are, set rigid deadlines and simply kick out players who break them irrespective of whatever reason they may have for doing so. That is an easy job. A football coach, like any teacher, must be a psychologist and that is why a coach like Mourinho took the trouble to do a whole degree in psychology. A coach ought to be able to go much deeper into the heads of his players and get a much deeper understanding of who they are and what makes them tick.

A guy says Coach, I have a slight injury, please allow me a day or two to have some treatment with my own doctors in France and then join the team. And Kwasi Appiah says because the guy would have missed some of the wonderful six training sessions he had planned, he was out! How ridiculous can one man be? If Kwesi Appiah needs six training sessions to assess what Ayew or Asamoah Gyan or Kwadwo Asamoah can do, then what has he been doing in the job? And if it was to do with the fact that he was injured, then why did he not let the player come down to be assessed by the team doctors? I am not one of those advocating for a foreign coach but I sure can understand the reasoning. A foreign coach comes with a clean slate devoid of the political and ethnic machinations that a weak local coach may have to contend with.

I am not going to bed hoping that Ghana plays badly and loses in the AFCON just to prove my point. After all, when the players go onto the pitch, they would be playing for the red, gold, green and the Black Star and I wish them all the best. I wish that they do their very best to attain good results in spite of Kwesi Appiah and not because of him. But if you were to ask me privately for my humble opinion, I would tell you, “Brother, your boys are in for a good trashing”

Papa Appiah