It is intriguing to note that months after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) signed a contract to hand over the Black Star team to Coach Charles Kwablan Akonnor, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has begun a process to review the contract.
This contract review would not enhance the remuneration of the Ghanaian gaffer but instead it would involve the slashing of the salary of the poor coach who got the job on merit and not because of his connection with anybody.
Shockingly, my understanding is that the contract review was done unilaterally without the input of the affected coach which is very unfortunate because good corporate practice requires that his input will, at least, be sought to ensure both parties reach an appreciable figure.
Instead, the decision was taken and imposed on him whereas he had earlier reached an agreement with his employers the (GFA) over how much he should be paid monthly as the coach of the senior national team.
As it stands now, it is either he takes it or leave it which has left Coach Akonnor in a tight corner because any objection to this decision could see him being branded as unpatriotic while the local media are ready to feast on him in case he decides to stand his ground.
Indeed, it is sad how we choose to treat our own with contempt because they are Ghanaians and instead offer preferential treatment when we have to engage the services of foreign coaches.
I recall how most of the foreign coaches we engaged have always been paid much better than their Ghanaian counterparts and yet we expect the Ghanaians coaches to produce the same results as the targets we set for the expatriate coach.
I wonder why we always do that because if we expect similar results from a Ghanaian coach, then on what basis do we pay them different salary yet expect same results. This is not fair to the local coaches.
Unfortunately, none of these expatriate coaches have been able to meet the target set for them. Ironically, all the four trophies won in the Africa Cup of Nations (1963, 1965, 1978, 1980) were achieved by our indigenous coaches yet the foreign coaches had always smiled to the bank with juicy contracts.
I feel very passionate about this because Coach Akonnor is not the first Ghanaian to have been treated with disdain by football authorities. It is clear that anytime Ghanaian coaches are appointed into the helm of affairs, their take home remain just a fraction of what their foreign counterparts will receive.
This dates back to a number of decades ago and the one’s that readily comes to mind is when Sam Arday took over from Brazil’s Ismael Kurtz in 1996 where he had to part with a fraction of what his predecessor earned.
It didn’t end there as Coach Fred Osam-Duodu could only dream of earning what Giuseppe Dossena, the Italian he succeeded was taking home each month when he took over in 2000.
When Coach Emmanuel Afranie replaced Serbia’s Milan Zivadinovic in 2002 he did not enjoy the same perks as the Serbian but German’s Burkhard Ziese would be enticed with a much better remuneration package when he was drafted in.
Even when the calls intensified for equal pay for both local and foreign coaches, Sam Ardey would not be given what Portuguese Mariano Barreto received before leaving in 2004. Similar fate befell Sellas Tetteh after he took over from Claude Le Roy as interim coach in 2008.
One would have expected that Coach Kwasi Appiah would at least be given something equal to what Avram Grant was receiving prior to his exiting the top job in 2017 but again, his contract terms were nothing near his predecessor’s.
Understandably, the COVID-19 has wreaked havoc to many businesses such that salaries of various employees have to be slashed to keep the companies afloat. Even some clubs in the most advanced leagues were not spared the downward review of wages.
What I don’t understand is the justification to slash the salary of Coach Akonnor when we know the virus might not leave with us forever.
In Europe, for instance, players and staff whose salaries were slashed would be done within a specific period after which it would be restored but in the case of Coach Akonnor, no one knows whether it would be restored.
Until we learn to treat our own coaches with some dignity and respect, we shouldn’t expect them to deliver anything for us. Worst of all, we shouldn’t expect the foreign-based players whose weekly wage far exceeds what the local coaches earn in a month to respect him.