Otto Addo -“Ghana need not worry about Black Stars technical team’s long term sustainability”

In the aftermath of Ghana’s somewhat surprising qualification to the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar at the expense of Nigeria no less, attention quickly turned to the future of the Black Stars uniquely assembled technical team. Were they going to be maintained? If they were to be kept together for the upcoming tournament, then at what cost?

As things turned out, folks in the upper echelons of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) have no problem doling out money to keep the “Special Four” band together and with the money issue out of the way and green light from top stakeholders, all four men will steer technical affairs in Qatar. Why fix what’s not broken right?

While the pockets of the payers are deep, they aren’t that deep to pay all of Otto Addo, Chris Hughton, George Boateng and Didi Dramani on a “permanent” basis. The solution is a “temporal” appointment arrangement between Addo, Boateng and Dramani and the respective clubs they are attached to in Europe. With Ghana set to play in its fourth World Cup, many Ghanaians are happy to the point they flat out don’t care much about the long term sustainability of this unique deal.

After an embarrassing campaign at the 2019 and 2021 AFCONS and failure to qualify to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making it to Qatar offers a happy outlet in a bad period for the Black Stars. However, the subject of the technical team’s sustainability and impact on the Black Stars beyond Qatar needs to be addressed way more than it has over the recent past weeks. The backdrop of the technical brain ensemble cast for the Black Stars gives all a sense of what lies beyond Qatar.

Addo was the GFA’s pick to lead the team while Hughton was the payer’s (Ghana Government via GNPC on behalf of the state of Ghana) option and combining forces was a compromise between the two factions that appeared at sharp opposite ends after Comoros beat Ghana 3-2. With Hughton having the Coaching Chops and experience at the highest level plus the backing of the paying faction, he is in line to be the “permanent” pick as Black Stars Head Coach in the long term.

Hughton is Qatar bound and prior to the World Cup, Ghana will compete in a series of friendly games and 2023 AFCON qualification games that should give him a better understanding of the team and the “African Game” to thrive in his new role when it comes. By leading Ghana to progress to the Mundial, Otto Addo has raised eyebrows in the football community including his birth country, Germany.

His imprint on the team as witnessed in the two-legged tie against Nigeria-defensive solidity and willingness to play out from the back within a short period of working with the team had its impact on everyone’s notice. Ride a good wave of results to Qatar plus a quarterfinal or surprise semifinal run in the Middle East and Addo could be the next big thing in the Coaching market, especially in Germany where teams are very willing to hand Bundesliga teams over to sharp, innovative thinkers of the game. Just as the French Ligue 1 boasts of “The League of Talents”, the Bundesliga has a strong reputation as a league of young Coaching talents that is rife with teams increasingly eager to give head coaching roles to promising individuals irrespective of their age. The likes of Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann and RB Leipzig head coach Domenico Tedesco got their first head coaching gig at ages 28 and 31 respectively. Relatively inexperienced middle-aged former players like Mark Van Bommel and Bo Svensson have been given coaching roles at Wolfsburg and Mainz respectively this season; Van Bommel has since been sacked from his role.

Footballers have capitalized on top performances at international tournaments to land big deals and the trend isn’t so different with coaches. For a man who has gone through the German system dating back to his amateur career, a good run by the Black Stars in Qatar is sure to be more than enough proof to prospective teams, particularly in Germany that Otto Addo is Bundesliga head coaching material. Even if Ghana doesn’t make a splash on its return to the World Cup, the German-born Ghanaian gets another chance to correct the wrongs via next year’s AFCON in Ivory Coast.

It is possible in such circumstances Addo could find himself as head coach at one of a bevvy of teams in the lower tier of the Bundesliga standings for starters. As one of the better ethnically diverse countries in Europe, it is a bit of a low point Germany’s most prominent football division lacks a Black Head Coach and Addo could be that guy. Should that happen, Ghana is likely to lose its interim gaffer but wouldn’t have much to stress over as Hughton would be a capable in-house replacement.

With a capable replacement waiting in the wings to coach the Black Stars on a full-time basis in Chris Hughton, the long term sustainability and impact on the fortunes of the Black Stars shouldn’t be a worry due to Otto Addo’s unique situation and future.

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