GHANAsoccernet.com columnist Yaw Adjei-Mintah argues Black Stars Appiah has failed to deliver on what promises to be a better version of himself in the wake of last week's armband fiasco that clouded the country's 5-0 win over Ethiopia in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Kumasi.
While many harbored thoughts of a no nonsense disciplinarian to check morally eroded Black Star players back in line, what we have witnessed so far has been anything but an Alex Ferguson-esque type trainer.
Despite getting sacked for the aforementioned attitude following Ghana Black Stars disastrous World Cup campaign in 2014, Coach Kwesi Appiah’s return to the team was largely seen as a redemption project not exclusive to the Stars fading prospects of landing a major trophy since 1982, but a personal development phase to distance himself from the questionable behavioral trait that threatened to end his very young career on the sidelines.
The former Ghana Captain’s return to the Black Stars is a big deal to natives of the West African nation who have witnessed two years of stale, repugnant football under recently departed Coach Avram Grant. And he needed little time to deliver as Ghana throttled five goals past Ethiopia in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium over the weekend.
The Walia Antelopes are far from the being the Stars strongest opponent but on a weekend South Africa, Guinea and Mozambique accounted for shock results over former African Champions Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia, the big win is a perfect way to begin the era of Kwesi Appiah’s second coming.
Seeing new boys Lumor Agbeyenu and Thomas Agyepong breathe life into a stale team brings back memories of Christian Atsu and Majeed Waris earning their first call ups during Appiah’s first run out with the team.
For proponents of Appiah’s return, this (neat inter positional play, young hungry lads showing up and lots of goals) is what they trumpeted all along. Unfortunately, the maiden win on Appiah’s return to Kumasi has been blighted by sad news that emerged during the game.
In typical Black Stars fashion, not even a resounding win is enough to gloss over another controversy to hit the side following Sulley Muntari’s stinging verbal attack on GFA Spokesperson Saani Darra mere days before the game. In the game, Captain Asamoah Gyan marked his 50th goal in national colours by having a customized armband with his jersey number and face slapped on it.
In bizarre circumstances, deputy captain Andre Ayew subbed in for Gyan with a different band after requesting for it since the Baby Jet went to the bench with his customized accessory.
Footballers have always been at the fore of cultural trends with eye catching hair do’s becoming the style in vogue back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
Tattoos have been on the rage for a while as several players have ink splashed across several parts of their body. Perhaps the latest fashion to hit the football world is customized accessories as athletes in team sports like Steph Curry frequently scribble messages on his sneakers. In football, it is the same as Inter Milan Captain Mauro Icardi has a specially made armband with his initials and jersey number inscribed on it.
While this is true, it must be noted such accessories up until now have been restricted to club sides not national sides. While Gyan has come under fire for his actions, this could have been avoided if Kwesi Appiah had acted the way many believed he would in his second spell in charge.
Speaking in his post game press conference, Appiah brushed aside the issue stating he was aware of the Gyan’s improvised armband before the game before dropping the bomb he doesn’t see the armband situation as a big deal.
Am sorry Coach but it is a big deal because one of the core reasons for the Black Stars “Golden Generation’s” failure to win a title was due to a similar rift involving Abedi Ayew after Kwesi Appiah was stripped off the captaincy. The current situation is further steep as it involves the oldest son of Abedi, Andre; so what if Andre Ayew decides as the deputy captain to have his personal customized armband in camp? Much worse, Appiah’s submission he was aware of the situation long before players trotted out to the field is bizarre.
One of the tags labeled at Appiah in his first attempt with the Stars was that of a “soft” leader; fully aware of the rumblings between Gyan and Andre over the band, Appiah should have been wise to anticipate the grave danger ahead.
The fact he knew before hand Gyan’s move and allowed it shows Ghana’s former Captain has not learnt from his mistakes of failing to go hard at “stubborn” individuals in the Stars camp who were the main orchestrators of Ghana’s embarrassing campaign in Brazil.
It is sad Appiah’s ill advised sack and tough coming out moment in the Sudanese League has done very little to change the attitude of Ghana’s Coach and one time Captain to a father figure willing to crack the whip.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
Email: [email protected]
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