Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Continuty Helps: LeRoy to stay with Ghana

Continuity is a good thing, whether it be in life or in football.

Look at the most successful clubs in world football. Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United. You'll see one of their main hallmarks as continuity, the ability to keep their top stars, add small pieces here and there and win trophies. Money aside, of course ...

That's why today's news that Claude LeRoy wants to lead Ghana's Black Stars to the 2010 World Cup is great news for the country.

Ghana's failure to win the 2008 African Cup of Nations on their home soil prompted many to think LeRoy's time in charge of the nation's footballing interests was up.

But the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has already asked him to stay, and the Frenchman has agreed.

"I think we are building a very good team; there are lots of things to do in the next two years", he told the BBC.

"We know we didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve," the coach said.

"But I think the image we left after the African Cup of Nations was a beautiful image. The quality of the team, the way we were playing, a very strong relationship between the players, myself and my staff - that seems to me the reasons the GFA decides this way."

Thanks to their strong performance in the Cup of Nations, Ghana is now 14th in FIFA's world rankings of footballing nations. Not too shabby.

LeRoy acknowledged that other coaches in a similar position would have lost their jobs, but pointed out that he has a strong track-record of commitment.

"I spent four years in Cameroon, four years in Senegal - this isn't the first time I have stayed a long time with a team in Africa," he said.

LeRoy is currently back home in France, following the Cup.

He plans to return to Accra next month, when he and the GFA will formalize their agreement, and start serious planning for the next two years.

"I am very very happy," he said, "but first we have to qualify for the World Cup and for the African Cup of Nations in Angola."

The start of that road will be a friendly international against Mexico in London on March 26th.

The match will be played at the home of Premier League club Fulham, Craven Cottage.


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