‘‘The tactical blindness of the coach is so glaring and loud that the blind can see and the deaf can hear it! I’m in agreement that Milo should be replaced immediately… he’s a fine man but unfortunately what we need is a fine coach’’- Mark Adjetey
While it’s imperative that we commend the entire Black Stars team for their phenomenal performance at the recently concluded Angola 2010, we ought to unanimously acknowledge that the Black Stars have once again failed in their quest to win a fifth Nations Cup title. Ghana could have come away with the coveted trophy, had we had good heads on the technical bench. A few Ghanaians have praised the coach for steering the team to the final of that tournament. To those people reaching the final of the Nations cup after 18 years is the best thing that has happened to Ghana football. I couldn’t disagree more with such school of thought. People seem to be oblivious of Ghana’s pedigree in the African Cup of Nations. We go into every nations cup tournament to win; anything apart from that should be deemed as a failure! There has been lots of talk about injury to several Black Stars players. What Ghanaians fail to realize, is that Egypt played in Angola 2010 without four key players- Aboutreka, Zaki, Shawky, and Mido; yet their coach Shehata produced better replacements for them. In our case, Milo invited naive and totally inexperienced players as replacements for established players like Muntari and Appiah. The coach Milo will have to take responsibility for failing to provide good replacements for our injured players.
Of all the eight U-20 players Milo invited for Angola 2010, only Agyemang Badu and Samuel Inkoom justified their inclusion beyond all doubt. While both players replaced Essien and Pantsil perfectly, the duo of Opoku Agyemang and Dede Ayew weren’t good enough replacement for Muntari and Laryea Kingston. One way or the other we managed to get to the finals and I expected the Black Stars to win against Egypt. The defining moment of the match was when Milo watched unconcerned as Shehata made two substitutions, bringing on Abdel Shafy for Sayed Moawad, and Mohammed Gedo for Emad Motaeb. The Black Stars coach just sat hopelessly, oblivious of what to do, when it was evident that Dede Ayew and Opoku Agyemang had become ineffective as a result of tiredness.
Needless to say, both players should have been replaced with fresh legs from the bench. Milo was totally clueless in that regard and it was eventually the Egyptian super-sub, Gedo who put a fantastic curling short past Kingson to seal the win for Egypt.
Modern football is about pre-emptive attack. The aim of any good coach should be to strike first. That was what Shehata did when he brought on two players to shore up Egypt’s attack. Egypt ensured that they struck first. You don’t wait till you are down before you make desperate efforts to score a goal. A good coach ought to have a contingency plan or a Plan B, which can be adopted when plan A isn’t going well. Milo was also clueless in that regard. In short, not only does Milo lack the ability to critically analyse games and vary his tactics, he also lacks the ability to come up with good tactical substitutions. His decision to replace Gyan, who had been our greatest threat in front of goal all evening, was a tactical blunder. Why on earth was a defender, Eric Addo introduced when we needed a goal? It’s totally incomprehensible! Under the circumstances the best thing Milo could have done was to bring on at least two more strikers to complement Gyan’s efforts. Rahim Ayew is not only athletic and strong, he also has very good shots in his leg; why on earth was such a player left on the bench at that crucial moment? What were Dominic Adiyah, Randsford Osie and others doing on the bench when Ghana needed players upfront? If they weren’t good enough why did Milo invite them?
SETTLING FOR MEDIOCRITY:
Ghanaians who are happy with our silver medal and are praising the coach for it, have settled for mediocrity! They forget that at the time Ghana won her fourth nations cup trophy in Libya in 1982, Egypt had won the coveted trophy only twice, while Cameroon had never won it. Today, 28 years down the line, Egypt have won an additional five trophies, taking their total tally to seven; while Cameroon have won four trophies. But Ghana, which hitherto had been the unchallengeable dominant force in African football, is still stuck on four trophies. Needless to say, the Black Stars had a phenomenal fall from grace.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
The Ghana Football Association should be condemned for Ghana’s failures at the last two Cup of Nations. At Ghana 2008, injured players were called up at the expense of fully fit players and we paid a price for that. This time around the G.F.A supervised Milo to invite inexperienced boys at the expense of proven players like Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Derrick Boateng, Agogo, just to mention a few. The government must show more interest in the activities of the G.F.A. Officials of the F.A must be made to understand that they are there to serve Ghanaians, and not their own interests; because it is tax-payers’ money that is being used to pay the players and even those at the F.A.
While government needs to be commended for perpetually paying the bonuses of the Black stars promptly, the F.A must be condemned for not translating the millions of dollars Ghanaian tax-payers are paying the team into trophies. For qualifying to the quarter-final of the tournament for instance, each member of the Black Stars was paid an astonishing 30,000 dollars by the Ghanaian tax-payer. This is in spite of the enormous difficulties we face as a nation. The F.A is obliged to reciprocate such a benevolent gesture by providing trophies. The Sports Ministry should get the G.F.A to explain why it once again failed to bring home the Nations Cup trophy.
It was evident against Egypt that we lost the game from the bench. Egypt weren’t better than us. If the F.A had done due diligence by hiring a good coach, Ghana would by now be celebrating her fifth trophy. The F.A has always sought to create the impression that our local coaches are incapable of handling the Black Stars. But we know that is flagrantly false and inaccurate! All our four Nations Cup trophies were won by local Ghanaian coaches. Didn’t Sellas Tetteh win the U-20 world Cup in Egypt? Indeed all the trophies we have won as a football nation were won by local coaches. Situations where foreign coaches are paid thousands of dollars but end up performing woefully must come to an end! We must support our local coaches to handle all our national teams, including the Black Stars. For many years, foreign coaches have been contracted and paid heavily by the F.A, with Tax-payers’ money, yet they have perpetually failed to perform!
Henceforth, Government should, positively interfere in the activities of the F.A, for the betterment of our football. Those who know our football history will confirm that Kwame Nkrumah was instrumental in some of our Cup of Nations successes. Tax-payers can not continue to pay thousands of dollars on foreign coaches who come, see, but refuse to conquer.
SHOULD MILO BE SACKED?
Without hesitation, I urge the sports ministry to see to it that Milo is sacked and replaced with a local coach who knows the Black Stars players and can effect good substitutions at the right time. I’m cognizant of the fact that there isn’t time between now and the World Cup, but this is a decision that should be made as soon as possible in view of Milo’s extraordinary incompetence. This is where I blame the G.F.A for imposing an incompetent coach on Ghanaians. It was evident at Angola 2010 that Milo knows nothing apart from selecting his first eleven. He selects his team and expects them to score first and defend afterwards. When the going gets tough for the team, he sits back and prays for a miracle to happen! With regards to analysing football matches and effecting the right substitutions, Milo is the worst coach in the world, it has to be said! No coach will withdraw a striker, and replace him with his a defender when his team badly needs to get a goal.
A good coach should be able to analyse and win matches from the bench. The Egyptian coach won Ghana from the bench. But Milo is no such coach. The earlier we realized this, the better for all of us. It’s high time we had faith in our local coaches. That has been Egypt’s secret. Modern football is about pre-emptive attack and the aim of every good coach will be to score first. That was Shehata’s aim when he brought on two players to shore up Egypt’s attack. Milo couldn’t read the match from the bench. If he could, he would have replaced Ayew and Opoku with fresher legs. This would have invigorated our attack, and renewed pressure would have been put on Egypt. Even I, a layman, would have made substitutions at that crucial stage of the match when it was evident that a lone goal would be enough to seal the game.
This isn’t the first time Milo has lost a match from the bench. In the final of CHAN 2009, he lost to DR Congo’s local coach. If it is impossible to sack Milo, efforts must be made to provide him with assistants who can actually input meaningfully into the team’s tactical plans; and not those who would sit unconcerned for Milo to effect heart-breaking substitutions. Needless to say, our current assistant coach is as guilty as his boss, Milo. What else is Kwasi Appiah being paid for, if not to support Milo tactically and technically?
It will also be in the interest of Ghana football, for the chairman of the Black Stars management committee, Fred Pappoe to improve the fortunes of the Black Stars. If he cannot do the job, he should resign for a winning chairman like Jordan Anagbla who led the Black Satellites to win the world cup in Egypt to take over! How long are we as a country going to continue accepting and supporting mediocrity?
GHANA’S FOOTBALL FUTURE.
Players like Samuel Inkoom, Agyemang Badu, Isaac Vorsah, and Kodwo Asamoah have come to the Black Stars to stay. They are capable of replacing the Appiahs and the Essiens on any day. They will definitely offer the Black Stars strength in depth as the team prepares for the World Cup, the greatest theatre of the game, in South-Africa.
As a ready-to-die Black Stars supporter and a football enthusiast, I appreciate the performance put up by the entire Black Stars team; qualifying to the Nations Cup final after 18 years is no mean achievement.
They brought us desperately close to our fifth Nations Cup title, but were let down by ‘incompetent heads’ on the technical bench! For the people of Ghana, this is another missed opportunity, and we’ll continue to feel the pain of this avoidable defeat for many more years to come.
I totally and unrepentantly agree with my friend Mark Adjetey that ‘Milo is a fine man but unfortunately what we need is a fine coach’.
God bless our homeland Ghana!
Source: Samuel K. Obour. [email protected]
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