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The task is daunting, but the local coach has to begin by instilling discipline in his team and adopting a leadership quality that will inspire the players to aim for success

By Kent Mensah

Ghana’s new coach Kwesi Appiah was the candidate least expected to be the successor to the sacked Goran Stevanovic. The news came as a big surprise to many - at a time when no one suspected the Ghana Football Association would pick a local coach.

The confirmation and subsequent announcement on Easter Monday was met with mixed feelings. However, the general mood now sweeping across the football fraternity in the country is that the calm and collected personality can deliver the goods. highlights the five key areas the former Ghana international needs to give attention to in order to succeed with the Black Stars.

One of the main reasons for the demise of his predecessor, Stevanovic, was his total lack of respect for the local league. He did not have time to monitor the domestic games. That stance stifled the chances of local players to make an impact with the senior national team.

Appiah started off well by attending the Ghana Clasico this weekend between giants Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak. He must pay a great deal more attention to the domestic league and give some of the talents the chance to prove themselves.

It is welcoming news that the former Ghana captain has been given the space to choose his own assistant. Obviously, Appiah will go for one of the local coaches. Reports are rife that he might settle on Kotoko’s Maxwell Konadu.

His deputy must be someone he can trust and who believes in his principles, and not someone who might want to undermine his efforts in order to take over the job. He should also be someone who commands a great deal of respect amongst the club coaches and players at national team level.

The former Asante Kotoko player is not new to the players of the Black Stars. He has been with most of them over the last four years. Generally, Appiah is seen as a very quiet personality and may lack the power to command. His placidity, however, is not a weakness.

This is the time he really needs to be firm. Excessive respect to players plying their trade in top European leagues could weaken his administration. He must treat everyone equally and make sure they all understand that he is the man in charge and that he has only the national team's best interests at heart.

Appiah will have to be himself and must not seek to impress. The time has come to rally the players around him. They have to understand his philosophy, his leadership style and buy into his plans in the short, medium and long term.

He should not move away from how he relates to the players outright, but will have to do things in phases. He must let them see him as a friend and at the same time build an appreciable aura of respect around him. Team work will help him a great deal, and it will be important for the players to work with him towards their common goals.

External influences and interference is bound to happen to a degree. However, the coach should not kowtow to undue demands. As a local trainer, club officials will be making backroom demands to get their players onto the national team.

He must know when to say no. Many people in positions of power will attempt to undermine his work and influence his decision, but he must remain resolute and stick to his plans for the good of Ghanaian football, and with his job in mind.

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