Black Stars coach, James Kwasi Appiah is hanging onto his job with immense pressure said to be coming from people in high places who want their ‘favourite players’ to be included in Ghana 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final squad.
On Monday, May 20, Appiah is expected to name a provisional 30-man squad for camping in the UAE, before finally naming his 23-man squad who will make the trip to Egypt.
Appiah had always been insistent that he has a fair knowledge of the players he hopes to take to the AFCON tournament, but he is now at the crossroads, needing to decide whether to kowtow to the demands of people who may ultimately have a say in his future engagement with the national team or stand his ground and pick players he believes can win Ghana the title come the end of July.
Appiah knows that if he gets his way with the selection of players, he would have to win the trophy to have any chance of staying on as Ghana coach.
Just last week, the President of the GFA Normalization Committee, Dr Kofi Amoah, went on national television to confirm that he has told the Black Stars coach to consider including ‘veteran players’ such as Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng in the squad.
He added that the final decision rests with the coach, but surely, his public pronouncements represent some kind of subtle coercion on the coach.
Sources close to the coach say, while he is incensed by interference in his work, he would stay his ground, pick the players he deems fit and face the consequence in the event the Black Stars do not win the trophy.
Appiah’s original contract expired in April this year but has been given a temporary extension for the duration of the AFCON, after which a decision will be taken on whether to formally give him another 2-year extension.
Earlier this year, Normalisation Committee President, Kofi Amoah was emphatic in stating that Kwasi Appiah must win the 2019 AFCON or face the sack.
The Black Stars have not won the AFCON trophy in 37 years. They were losing finalists in 2010 and 2015.