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Opinions of Monday, 13 February 2012

Columnist: Atuahene, Kwame Koduah

We Must Stop The Expatriate Nonsense With Our Black Stars

“Prince Tagoe does not know how to dribble, shoot, cross, pass and score. What does he want in the national team”- angry soccer fan

I have long held that for pride, economics and basic reasoning that our national team does not need an expatriate coach. The national team is not the forum where players go to learn how to shoot, pass, dribble, cross or score. In deed these are skills often a pre-requisite for invitation to the national side.

The records however aged they are show that, all our triumphs at continental and world competitions at all levels had some association with local coaches who often have identified and nurtured these talents prior to their exportation for foreign exchange yet we ignore and insult their reputation when it matters most.

If our local coaches are not good enough, then perhaps we should be considering poaching some 23 uncapped foreign players from Serbia, Germany, Brazil among others to don the national jersey at the next tourney.

Yes, we qualified for the last two FIFA World cups with foreign coaches but with local stop gap coaches when we looked abandoned. I am convinced that, besides an opportunity to raise their profile, these foreign coaches are motivated no more than the investible capital they drain from us. I struggle to find justification for the GHc 100,400 (over 1 billion cedis) monthly wage of Plavi when he has demonstrated a lack of interest in his job.

I am told and believe same to be true that, we can virtually count the number of nights he has spent in Ghana over the last two years as a foreign based coach failing to scout for local talents in the process.

Today, the core of the black stars squad members ply their trade in arguably some of Europe’s elite teams in the shape of AC Milan, Chelsea, Olympic Marseille, Udinese, TSG Hoffenheim, Red Star Belgrade, Standard Liege, FC Dnipro, Vitesse Arnhem Panathinaikos whose coaches arguably have a better profile than the likes of Zumdick, Barreto, Dujkovic, Rajevac and Plavi among others who come in as ordinary managers to deliver average and sometimes below average performance.

National team coaches do not teach football skills rather they invite the fit and available talents, motivate them and implement a strategy based on the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. In the recent, the likes of Coachhene Afranie, Sallas “Borborchinovik” Tetteh and Akwasi Appiah have made us proud at Australia ’93, Egypt ’09 and Maputo ’11 respectively.

I think we should look for a respectable, highly motivated, and aggressive local expertise, support the person with a third of the facilities made available to these expatriates and most of all the GFA should offer loyalty in equal dose as they have shown to these expatriates even in the face of obvious failures and our national team will be the beneficiary.

It is time to dismiss the perception that, our foreign-based players do not regard our local-based coaches. That cannot be true. These are coaches who offered the opportunity to be noticed. John Painstil dispels the notion with a recent gesture of gratitude to Coachhene. It is time to believe in the Ghanaian. We cannot continue to pay gargantuan wages to these average expatriate coaches who deliver little and leave us with a broken heart

Today, English fans after the resignation of Fabio Capello clamor for Harry Redknapp who has shown that given the space the homegrown coaches could be trusted with the renaissance of the English game on the world stage.

Herbert Addo failed with the local black stars but that alone should not erase the exploits of the likes of C.K. Gyamfi, Osam Doudo, Coachhene, Sam Addy, and Sir. Jones Attuquafio in football coaching circles. It is time to look within after a frail and fruitless search of glory with these average foreign coaches.

I rest my case.