When the Black Stars line up late tonight to take on the might of the United States of America, a little bit of history which is being threatened to be overshadowed by all the brouhaha of a world cup is going to take place. For the first time in the history of Ghana, the Black Stars are going to be led by a black man on the world stage, at the senior level.
Admittedly ours is a short romance with the world cup, this just being our 3rd tournament overall, but this does not in any way diminish the significance of the occurrence. Ghana’s first president Dr Nkrumah is amongst other things, famous for his utterance that “the black man is capable of managing his own affairs”. And after trusting in the white man to take us to our first two world cups, Kwesi Appiah was given the chance and has, rather spectacularly, led the team to the world cup in a manner more flamboyant than either of his predecessors could manage.
We have a rather unfortunate tendency in this country to dismiss the value of our own products, and this pertained to our choice of a national team coach for a long time. Which is why the exploits of Kwesi Appiah should not be glossed over, as in being successful he makes a case not only for himself, but for all local coaches and for our ability to perform just as well as the foreigner given the right conditions.
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Kwesi Appiah’s initial appointment was met with incredulity and indifference by a large section of the Ghanaian public. There were those who believed a local coach was the way to go, but Kwesi Appiah himself was largely untested as a manager at the top level. Admittedly, he had been assistant coach of the Black Stars for several years prior; this did not however diminish the calls of his critics who felt he was entirely out of his depth.