Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The appointment of a local coach for the senior national football team, the Black Stars, and the launch of the “Green Book” that catalogues the “achievements” of the government in the past three years were some of the stories highlighted in the Ghanaian media this week.
The media have for many years been championing a debate on whether or not the Black Stars should have a local or foreign coach.
Contributors on either side have advanced various reasons with passion, depending on the performance of the Black Stars, why their views are the best for Ghana football.
Another debate ensued during and after this year’s African Cup of Nations competition hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea because of the “poor” performance of the Black Stars and those championing the cause of a local coach cried loudly for the dismissal the Serbian coach, Goran Stevanovic, although the Black Stars ended the competition in fourth place.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) "bowed" and sacked Stevanovic, who still had one year on his two-year contract, and named Ghanaian James Kwasi Appiah, who had been assistant coach since 2008, as the substantive coach.
“Appiah appointed Black Stars coach,” was the headline of the state-owned Daily Graphic.
The story said the GFA appointed Appiah after an Executive Committee meeting on Monday that discussed the head-hunting exercise it undertook to find a permanent coach.
A member of the Kumasi Asante Kotoko team that won the African Clubs Championship in 1983, the soft-spoken Appiah had been assistant coach of the Black Stars since 2008 and guided the Black Meteors (junior team) to win gold medal at the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo.
He was on the technical bench when Ghana reached the quarter-final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and caretaker coach following the dismissal in March of Stevanovic.
The Graphic also said until Monday’s announcement, former France captain Marcel Desailly was tipped as the front-runner for the vacant job.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headline “Mensah salutes Appiah” with the story saying Ghana skipper John Mensah had congratulated Appiah on his appointment as the man in the driving seat of the Stars coaching job.
He said: “On my own behalf, and on behalf of the entire Black Stars team, I congratulate coach Appiah on his appointment. It is refreshing news and we are happy for him.
“My colleagues and I will give of our best. We promise to give him our utmost by way of cooperation and commitment as we strive to qualify for next World and Nations Cups.”
The Daily Guide had another story “US$20,000 salary for Ghana coach”.
The story said Appiah would receive US$20,000 as his monthly salary, “a sharp increase from the US$3,000 he was receiving as an assistant coach to his Serb superior Goran Stevanovic, who was taking 30,000 Euros per month”.
The paper said Appiah’s appointment formed part of the GFA’s initiative to change the fortunes of the senior national team after expatriates like Rinus Israel, the late Bukhard Ziese, Otto Pfister, Ralph Zumdick, Dossena, Mariano Baretto, Claude Le Roy, Ratomir Dujkovic, Milovan Rajevac, among others, had failed to win silverware for the country.
It quoted veteran Ghanaian coaches like Sam Arday and Francis Oti Akenteng as saying the decision, after a head-hunting exercise, was a wise one.
A story in the state-owned Ghanaian Times on the subject quoted Kwesi Nyantakyi, the GFA President, as backing Appiah to thrive in his new role.
“I think it is very important for all of us, all Ghanaians including the journalist, members of the public and particularly the Football Association to rally behind Kwesi Appiah so that he can succeed,” Nyantakyi said on Tuesday.
He said: “We’re not appointing Kwesi Appiah to judge him and dismiss him on the basis that he did not perform. We would all have failed.
“Our objective is to offer the needed support so he succeeds in this new appointment. And so the FA is fully committed to ensure that all the facilities and all the needs of the coach are provided so he delivers according to the mandate entrusted to him."
“Veep launches NDC's Green Book” was the headline of The Ghanaian Times.
It said Vice President John Mahama launched the National Democratic Congress “Better Ghana Agenda II”, otherwise known as Green Book II, in Accra.
The book, which covers four thematic areas - Building a strong economy, expanding infrastructure for growth, investing in people and transparent and accountable governance, - documents development projects executed by the NDC government.
The 87-page book also features various development projects from all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and some of the “unprecedented achievements” such as GDP growth of 13.6 per cent, longest sustained single-digit inflation, one million metric tons of cocoa production and the setting up of the Constitution Review Commission, among other issues.
Vice President Mahama said the documentation of the achievements of the NDC government was not a campaign gimmick, but accountability to “the good people of Ghana who voted us into power in 2008 and for them to see what we have done, are still doing and will do in the next term, given another opportunity”.
The Graphic’s headline was, “Government launches book on its achievements so far.
It said the book was an overview of the government’s "Better Ghana" agenda, and Mahama expressed strong conviction that the unprecedented record of achievements of the government would make Ghanaians retain the Mills administration.
He said the book would contribute immensely to remove the “scales” from the eyes of those who did not seem to appreciate the marvellous achievements of the government.
The publication, which is in two parts, contains an overview of what the Mills administration has achieved in the first three years, as well as a pictorial compilation of some of the projects undertaken at the regional, metropolitan, municipal and district levels.
The Daily Guide’s headline on the story read “Govt's 1.8m jobs hoax”. The story said the claim by the Mills administration that it had generated an unprecedented 1.8 million jobs in three years had deepened suspicion about the legitimacy of all the previous employment data it had released.
“With no evidence to support the claim, Ghanaians, especially members of the Unemployed Graduates Association, had been dumbfounded by the substantial disparities between figures released in the past by government officials and the realities on the ground, saying that it could only be concocted figures meant to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians,” Daily Guide said.
-0- PANA MA 14April2012