Paintsil calls for support for under-fire Ghana coach Akonnor 

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Kotoko coach CK Akonnor
Goal Ghana
The ex-West Ham defender shares his thoughts on the Black Stars' call-up for upcoming games against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe

Former Ghana international John Paintsil has called for support for Black Stars coach CK Akonnor who has come under criticism in the wake of a 29-man squad announced for the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe.

The coach has come under fire for the calling up, among others, 19-year-old attacker Kwame Afriyie Poku who plays club football for Colchester United in the English fourth-tier and Dreams FC full-back Philemon Baffour.

The outcry has led to the England-born player being entirely dropped from the list.

“You [the fans] are not the coach. It is the coach who knows what will help his team and the nation," former Fulham and West Ham United right-back Paintsil said, as reported by Footballghana.

“At the end of the day, when the criticisms come, they will be placed at his doorstep. So the coach has to make the right decisions that will help him build his CV.

“Every coach wants to build his CV. No coach wants to lose games. I think the supporters should have the patience for the coaches.

“Most of the coaches who once handled Ghana come with their systems and nothing would change their mindset. So we must endeavour to learn the game of football.”

Cut off from the Afcon qualifying squad, Poku has been drafted into the Ghana B side for a friendly fixture with Uzbekistan on March 26.

“[Poku] will join the team going to Uzbekistan from Europe to be monitored by ['B' Team coach] Ibrahim Tanko [who is] to send reports and recommendations to the [Black Stars] technical team and FA,” GFA communications director Henry Asante Twum told Oyerepa FM.

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“It was suggested we monitor [Poku] closely [in the upcoming qualifying games to see] if he fits into our scheme of things, then we continue calling him.

“[Poku] is a talent and prospect we need to tie down but it’s possible the coach [Akonnor] had his own reservations but he’s aware of every player called up.”

Ghana face South Africa in Johannesburg on Thursday before returning home to host Comoros three days later.