Avram Grant’s In-Tray For December 1

With the official confirmation of his appointment as Ghana coach now off the table,former Chelsea boss Avram Grant will probably be mulling the extent of the task he has agreed to undertake for the next two years in the small but football crazy West African state. I want to him help out by suggesting a few things he should prioritise.

Re-establish the swag factor

Grant should be under no delusion. He has just inherited a disjointed side that is on the decline; low on confidence and tactical leadership. Gone is the full blown attacking swagger of the team from the World Cup qualifiers. To watch the Black Stars play recently is to watch 11 strangers on a pitch trying very hard to pretend they are a team and failing at it.There are many players like John Boye,all three goalkeepers,Christian Atsu and a host of others who need a kick up the backside and some old fashioned man management and direction. There is currently no meritocracy in the set up of the team and he has to make hard decisions that will jolt this team. He has the tools but getting them to work in sync will be his first true test. Unfortunately for him he has two weeks to get his machine in motion before the commencement of the biggest football tournament on the continent.

Fire Nassamu and solve the goalkeeping question

For a country with such a great tradition of goalkeepers,the situation that currently pertains is just shameful and directly the making of the Medeama goalkeeping trainer. Two of Ghana’s three goalkeepers have been inactive through no fault of his I must admit ,what is his fault though is their poor quality under his tenure. Ghana’s current number one,Razak Braimah is a journeyman goalkeeper who at the age of 27 is now playing his first season in the second tier of Spanish football after years in the gutters of reserve league football in Spain. It is fairly obvious that there has been no significant improvement of the national team goalkeepers under him although he has purchased a host of new gadgets for his sessions. He has also managed to ostracise the best goal keeper in the country by a mile,Adam Kwarasey with his indecisiveness and inability to take criticism. Every great team is built around a great goalkeeper and the Black stars have not looked great since Nasamu took charge. Grant will be aware of this basic principle and I will keep my fingers crossed he fires Nassamu as the first step in regaining greatness.

Make an impression by the end of AFCON 2015

Yes we all heard the Ghana Football Association(GFA) declare that Grant will be under no pressure to win the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea. Unfortunately for him,the public have different expectations and they will make them known loudly from the first day he arrives in the country. He is coming into a job where majority of the football public recall his stints in the English league with disdain. He is the boring,dour,father figure who inherited a ready built team that lost a Champions League final, got relegated with two others and ran away to humid Thailand. Grant will somehow have to change that perception with the populace while also focusing on the business end of creating a team fans can be proud of and willing to cheer for. That will be his greatest task.

The triumvirate test

This is a problem that will test the diplomatic skills of Grant to the fullest. If he decides to end the indefinite absence of Sulley Muntari,Michael Essien and Kevin Prince Boateng he will need to convince not just the players but the football association and some fans as to why he cannot build a team without these three. I have a feeling that Grant will pursue this path because a coach of his standing understands how valuable it would be to have players of quality,experience and an already existent understanding of his philosophy. Boateng was a talented player going nowhere until he joined Grant at Portsmouth and he has always admitted the Israeli turned his career around.

‘At Portsmouth I showed what I could do, the kind of football I was capable of.”Grant is a great manager and believes in every player and tries to help them get better”.

Essien played under him at Chelsea in a season in which they lost the league by a two points and the Champions League final as well. He will have a fair measure of the man. With them in tow Grant’s task could be easier but there is no certainty. Decision time Avram.

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