By Kwesii Asomadu
In former Manchester United player, Andrew Cole’s column in The National he writes “Public criticism of players is risky and lacks class. Managers may think they are being honest and are telling the fans how it is. That is true, but they need to be cleverer than that because players can see it as betrayal.
“What motivates one player offends another. A top manager will know the nuances, the mental state of each player and understand which egos need to be stroked or who needs to be shaken up to get the best of out them.”
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When Dede Ayew got subbed in the game against Malawi he definitely felt annoyed, but it shows his commitment to play, to fight on. He is a born competitor. One who plays to win. He is a player who does not reach for the skies; he is battling his way into the heavens. He reacted in a way which the coach thought was disrespectful and yes he was wrong. The young guy erred but he did not deserve to be flogged in the public.
He did not walk out on the team into the dressing room and then out of the stadium though. For that is what Carlos Tevez did during his time at West Ham when he got subbed once. He left the stadium and went home. This is what Alan Pardew decided, that the players should punish him. The other West Ham players mischievously asked the Argentine international to wear a Brazil jersey to training. A very serious issue had now been turned to one to make fun about.
At the end of the season Tevez would save West Ham from the drop. Maybe what really saved West Ham that season was rather that piece of man management. Man management is an art on its own. Kwesi Appiah showed he had not developed milk teeth yet in his handling of the Andre Ayew issue. He played the issue out in public. He brought Dede Ayew into the town square, where he knew as soon as he shouted indiscipline, the screams would be “flog him.”
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Even before the player knew it, the media had been notified that he was being given an ultimatum to make a public apology.
The ultimate betrayal was in full flow. Sadly the coach had betrayed one of his own. He had done the thumb down gesture to commence his flogging in the town square, knowing that he had won the issue with the sacred word - discipline. For now he had spread the issue that Dede Ayew was in-disciplined into the air like laughing gas.
Everyone was catching it. He asked for a public apology from the player and he got one. A half-hearted one that is. For a coach to manage a team successfully he has to find a doppelganger. One to drive the team bus and the other to drive the egos bus. Sadly, on that day in Malawi Appiah drove his egos bus straight to the town square. Straight to the betrayal centre and young Ayew was crucified.