Home Feature FEATURE: Why a Ghanaian should manage the Black Stars

FEATURE: Why a Ghanaian should manage the Black Stars

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Have you ever wondered why an American character is always the hero in that Hollywood movie and a Russian or Arabian character is the villain? Why Tom Cruise is capable of the impossible in ‘Mission Impossible’? The developed countries know and the power of Self-Belief. Call it propaganda but it’s in America’s interest for its people and the rest of the world to accept in their subconscious that there’s none better at anything than an American. In his book ‘Introduction to the Sociology of “Developing Societies”, Tom Nairn describes Nationalism as “a generally necessary stage of development” and “common to both materialist and idealist societies”. Fundamentally, No nation has developed without instilling into its people the spirit of Nationalism and self-belief, our case will certainly not be different.

In Kwame Nkrumah’s famous speech at the Polo Grounds on the eve of Independence he said “From now on we must change our attitudes, our minds, we must realize that from now on we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people”. He and other freedom fighters at the time believed that the African was capable of handling his own affairs and as a result demanded independence from the Queen. 60 years on this Nation is struggling to make meaning of these words in various aspects of national life and sadly that includes football

Karl Marx referred to religion as the opium of the people. I think football is fast rising to that status, a game for the masses, similar to religion it has an addictive power that reaches people of all walks of life, exerting so much influence. During the 1930’s various world leaders employed this influential capability of the game with Mussolini adopting it as a propagandist tool for national cohesion as Italy hosted the 1934 world cup. The game’s reach is so powerful that the effect of decisions made concerning the national outlook on the people cannot be overlooked especially one that has to do with the head of the senior national team

Israeli Avram Grant decided not to renew with Ghana and once again the football Association is on the market for a head coach to manage the attractive Black Stars who have been to the last three World Cups. Unfortunately since the turn of the century Ghana has had nine foreign coaches: Milan Zivodinovic(2002), Bukhard Ziese(2003), Ralf Zumdick(2003), Mariano Barreto(2004), Ratomir Dujkovic(2004), Claude Leroy(2007), Milovan Rajevac(2008), Goran Stevanovic(2011) and until recently Avram Grant(2014)  but just five Ghanaian coaches: Fred Osam-Duodu(2000), Jones Attuquyefio(2001),Osam-Duodu(2001), Emmanuel Afranie(2002),  Akwasi Appiah(2012)

The vacant Black stars job provides a test for our very educated leaders. Do we change the narrative and put our trust in a Ghanaian, support him to succeed or do we continue to imbibe in the subconscious of our people the notion that they are not good enough by once again looking up to a foreigner? Afterall the good book says “As a man thiketh in his heart,so is he”.

First of all I cannot understand why the National team of any dignified sovereign nation should be led by a foreigner. The national team is an embodiment of a people; it would compete against other nations for honours for its people, the pride of a nation. Therefore I shudder to think that a foreigner will lead my country Ghana into any sporting battle.

Nkrumah adopted the name ‘Black Star’ from Marcus Garvey’s ‘Black Star Line’ shipping company which was established as a symbolic statement in his fight for Black people through the ‘Universal Negro Improvement Association’. That ship became a monumental figure of hope and belief for Black people around the world especially those in the Americas and the Caribbean. Our Black Stars is a symbol of African excellence to show the way for the continent, at least that’s what Kwame Nkrumah intended when he adopted the name. That team is losing its identity

For a developing country whose debt to GDP ratio has surpassed the acceptable 70% mark and struggling to maintain a stable currency, it makes no economic sense to have spent over $1.2m on a coach (Avram Grant) over the course of his 28 month contract. This means that scarce forex which could have been spent in our economy is repatriated into foreign lands while the masses of our people suffer. This cannot continue, we cannot continue to make mockery of ourselves

This article does not seek to compare the competences of Ghanaian and foreign coaches but I do not agree with anybody who makes the assertion that the Ghanaian does not have the competence to manage his/her  own national team funded by its own resources. There are too many Ghanaians competent enough to lead the Black Stars, Give them the job, establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and build for them support systems. If they fail, sack them and appoint another Ghanaian. President Akufo-Addo in his inaugural speech called for a redefinition of the ‘new Ghanaian’, let football lead the way. That the head of the Black Stars must be a Ghanaian is non-negotiable.

 

By Charles Owusu Kumi

 

 

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