Ghana Black Stars coach James Kwesi Appiah will call the shots at the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil for the first time and he has insisted he will do it his own way. The 53-year-old former international defender made history when he became the first local coach to guide Ghana to the World Cup last year.
"Since I took over the job, I have been my own man. If you let someone influence your decision, they won't respect you," said Appiah, who was an assistant to Serbian Milovan Rajevac when Ghana reached the quarter-finals at the 2010 World Cup. "You do things your own way when in charge of the team and if they don't work out you become responsible for the consequences. If they do, you take the honours."
Appiah's first test as boss after being appointed in April 2012 was the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The highly fancied Black Stars were stopped in the semi-finals by Burkina Faso. The coach insists there were positive aspects to the team's performance in the tournament.
"For me, I have never regretted in any step I have taken. The main reason (why we did not win) being many of the players we took to the Nations Cup were young and we were building the team," he reasoned. "Saying that, any coach goes into a competition to win it and I don't think we were disgraced at the competition. We came out of the competition with a lot of players who had played a tournament for the first time and could help us in the future."
You do things your own way when in charge of the team and if they don't work out you become responsible for the consequences.
Ghana put behind their exit from the Nations Cup to qualify for the 2014 World Cup with a convincing 7-3 aggregate thumping of Egypt.
Former Black Stars skipper Stephen Appiah said the former Asante Kotoko defender is the man to lead the country to greater glory in Brazil.
"Over the period his team (players) have shown a lot of commitment to him," he said. "I think it is a good sign which will lead to many more successes. There is more motivation in the team. This is a group leader".
In Brazil, the four-time African champions are drawn against Germany, Portugal and USA in Group G. Ghana reached the round of 16 on their debut at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and four years ago in South Africa, they equalled the best African performance by getting to the quarter-finals. Appiah, a defensive midfielder who captained Ghana during his five-year stint with the national team, said his team will not suffer any inferiority complex against his fancied rivals.
"We play Germany, USA and Portugal in our group, but we did get this far and we can't underrate or overrate any team, the game has come of age and it's any man's game," he said. "All teams in our group are strong, but we can't fear them because our qualification demonstrates our ability and potential. If you have qualified for the World Cup and you fear your opponents, then you might as well not go for the competition," he said.