GFA set to name new Black Stars coach; Grant leads race

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44ab4bb1fa1051a804c2a58927169a80_LThe Ghana Football Association (GFA) looks set to appoint a new coach for the Black Stars following the completion of a painstaking selection exercise which saw three shortlisted coaches face the FA interview panel in Accra two weeks ago.

This week, the interview panel, led by the FA’s vice-president, Fred Crentsil, will present its report to the GFA Executive Committee to make their final decision.

Even though the FA put assistant coach Maxwell Konadu in charge of the team for this month’s Nations Cup qualifiers against Guinea, the FA says it will not rush into naming a new coach even though the team has another Nations Cup qualifier next month.

“Getting a substantive coach for the Stars remain a priority, but that will not push us to make any rush decisions.

“The search committee has indicated that the report is ready and once we receive it, we will look at it thoroughly before naming the new coach,” the GFA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, told the Graphic Sports yesterday.

Three out of the final five shortlisted applicants — Michel Pont, Spaniard Juan Ignacio Martinez Jimenez and Avram Grant — reportedly impressed the interview panel about their knowledge of the team and how to turn around the team’s fortunes, but insiders told the Graphic Sports that the coaches’ salary expectations will play a key role in the FA’s final decision.

While the panel remains tight-lipped over their ratings of the three coaches, the Graphic Sports gathered that former Chelsea manager, Grant looks favourite to be handed the job because of his familiarity with African players while handling clubs in England.

As manager of Chelsea, the Israeli led the team that included Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and John Mikel Obi to the final of the 2008 UEFA Champions League for the first time in the history of the club.

The applicants were rated on their ability to stay and work in Ghana, their readiness to work under difficult conditions, their ambition and vision for the Stars, personality trait as well as their financial expectations.

Apart from impressing with their presentations, all three men indicated also their readiness to reconsider their financial expectations when given the job.

Grant is reported to have allayed fears that his Israeli citizenship could pose travel challenges to certain countries, saying “I can travel to everywhere in the world without any hindrance.”

The last expatriate coach to handle the Stars, Goran Stevanovic, was reportedly paid €40,000 while local coach, Kwasi Appiah, whose replacement is being sought, was paid $20,000.

Meanwhile, the GFA has dismissed news making the round that it could consider former Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi, for the job.

Last Monday, Keshi, who has coached Togo and Mali and led Nigeria to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) glory, admitted on several radio interviews in Accra, that he was interested in filling the vacant Stars coach job and  that he could lead the Stars to their elusive fifth continental glory when given the job.

However, Mr Crentsil in reaction to the news, was emphatic that the FA would not bend the rules in favour of the Nigerian legend

“Unfortunately, Keshi expressed his interest too late. There were timelines for applying and he did not meet the deadline. Now, the process is over and he cannot be considered in anyway,” he told the Graphic Sports.

 

-graphic

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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