Kwesi Appiah has been announced as the new coach of the Ghanaian national football team, reprising the role for the second time. In the official announcement presented by George Afriyie, the vice president of Ghana’s Football Association, it was said that Appiah will be expected to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and win. This is a lofty goal set for Appiah, given that Ghana has not won that tournament since defeating Libya in the 1982 finals.
Appiah previously coached Ghana from 2012 to 2014. In that tenure, he became the first African coach to helm a Ghana World Cup squad. However, the team washed out in the group stage. That disappointing result combined with a player revolt led to his dismissal. He had been coaching Sudanese club Al Khartoum until he was re-hired this week. In response to critics who called him too lenient and too soft, characteristics that are blamed for him losing the locker room, he said at the presentation that “I have learnt a lot. There are so many mistakes I believe I made and I won’t repeat them.”
Appiah is charged with getting Ghana past qualifiers for both the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup. The qualifying process for the former tournament is still entirely in Appiah’s hands, as their first test will come against Ethiopia in June. Meanwhile, the 2018 World Cup qualifying is underway and Appiah will have to dig the squad out of a hole, as the team has only earned one point in two games, finding themselves five points behind Group E leader Egypt. In order to get the team off to a kick start, Appiah has floated the possibility of asking Kevin-Prince Boateng to return to the selection after a three-year suspension. Boateng was suspended over a heated verbal agreement during Appiah’s last stint with the team. Appiah said concerning the possibility of Boateng’s return, “I’ll always want the best for Ghana.”