Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ghana Coaching Situation

So what's the deal with the coaching situation in Ghana?

Claude LeRoy is out, although we're not entirely sure why.

Now who takes over? Someone like Marcel Desailly?

Let's recap the situation:

* Claude LeRoy is out as coach of Ghana at the end of the month.

The Frenchman's contract was terminated a month early by the Ghana Football Association.
It had been due to run out at the end of June, but the GFA announced on Thursday that they had brought the date forward.

LeRoy took the Black Stars to third place at the recent African Cup of Nations, hosted by Ghana. They are also the top ranked team in Africa at the moment, according to FIFA's latest listing.

* So what happened?

"They offered me a new contract but I think it's the end of a chapter," LeRoy told the French news agency AFP. "I think I've given everything that I could give, I think it's for the best. Everyone thought I'd signed for another two years but no, the federation made me an offer, that's all," he said.

The GFA said it was confident of appointing a new coach in time for a May 23 friendly against Australia. Their 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers begin at home against Libya nine days later.

* In an interview with the BBC days later, LeRoy didn't fully explain his strange decision to leave the post. Was he pushed out?

"It wasn't a problem of the terms of the new contract. I was very proud that they wanted to keep me," he added. He hinted that the break-up of his coaching team did affect his decision.

"My assistant [Sellas Tetteh] left for the under-20's and with Herve [Renard] my other assistant they couldn't renew his contract for financial reasons. We built a dedicated team of staff and as it wasn't possible to work with the same staff I think it was better to start on a new adventure."

He's unsure what to do next, though.

"I will see all the proposals that I receive and then I'll choose; it can be a club in Europe, it can be a national team in Asia, a national team in Africa, a club in Europe - maybe even in England," he explained.

* So what does Ghana do now?

Speculation has been rampant that former France and Chelsea star Marcel Desailly will take over.

The 39-year-old, who was born in Ghana, had in the past expressed interest in coaching the Black Stars but he's not interested right now.

"I am very flattered that fans and the media in Ghana want me to take up the post as the coach of the Black Stars but I have to say no for now," Desailly told BBC Sport.

"I have to put on standby the proposition of the people of my country and the massive media support."

Despite ruling himself out of taking over from Le Roy, the former defender is still confident of coaching the Black Stars in the future.

"My time will come," said Desailly, who helped France win the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.

"When it does I will give it my best shot and use all the experience I have gained in my career in Europe to take Ghana to the highest level."

Even though he is disappointed at Le Roy's departure, Desailly is optimistic about the Black Stars' future.

He said: "Le Roy has done a very good job with the squad by holding it together and also bringing in young players for the future.

"The base is already there for success because of the quality of the squad and I know the players can achieve great things for the country."

MY POV: Tough times for many African powers as Nigeria, South Africa and now Ghana have had to change coaches.

This is a normal part of the off-season, where organizations assess where they are and where they need to go. Still, odd to see so many big-name coaches leaving their posts.

Are federations jumping the gun some, letting coaches go too quickly?
Or are foreign coaches simply not suited to the African game, coming into situations they don't fully understand and overestimating their power?
An interesting debate, now that Nigeria fully lobbied for a domestic coach.

Let's see who Ghana chooses. Should be an interesting choice before their friendly May 23rd.

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