….but Tetteh and Rwanda should make better use of each other
Rwanda has hit a “jackpot” in securing Ghana’s Fifa Under-20 World Cup winning coach Sellas Tetteh to be in charge of the National senior football team, the Amavubi Stars and their young brothers of the U-20. Very few saw this one coming!
Talk of starting a new chapter, and this is right there in our face. For long, the powers that be in charge of football in Rwanda have always preached beer while they get high on water.
But at last they are starting to put words in action.
They started with sacking Branko Tucak, (which was the only option they had) after a disastrous 2010 World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifying campaign, dumped older players from the national team, put more emphasis on youth development and now they have gone for a man with a relatively better profile than almost all his last four predecessors.
In getting a man, who just a couple of months ago became the first ever to win a world title with an African team, (while playing football the way it’s supposed to), the Sports ministry and the football federation have shown they mean business, unlike before when a decision like this would be hard to even think about.
With this move, it’s evident that the days of our obsession with anything European in search for a new coach are all but over.
After getting raw deals from the last three European coaches, it was going to be suicidal to again to do more of the same in form of another man from the our usual hunting ground in eastern Europe or Germany, where we can get one on a discount.
Obviously, appointing an African coach is not a thing of most African teams, so the appointment of Tetteh will go a long way, if he only becomes half as successful as he’s expected, in breaking our long standing fascination with white coaches.
But again we shouldn’t start counting our chicks as yet, in other words we can’t rest on your laurels juts because we have a fellow African in charge of our national teams.
After years of operating behind the scene as an assistant for Ghana’s Black Stars, Tetteh made his break through 12 months ago when he guided Ghana’s Black Starlets to the African U-20 Youth Championships held in Kigali, but his star rose way far too high for even his own imagination when that same team went on to win the Fifa World title in Egypt, the first African team to achieve that feat at any level.
With what the football federation and other stake holders in Rwandan football want to do in this new chapter, which is to build the game from the basement, then there would not be a better man than what they got. This is a master stroke!
The years of relying on players, whose best years are well behind them to add anything to the national team cause are looking like getting over, and if the current signs are anything to go by, then we must have seen the last of strangers in national team colours.
Actually, if there was anyone benefiting (on a personal level) from that scheme of bringing whoever players that couldn’t break into their countries’ national teams, mostly from West Africa, then he or she must start looking somewhere else for an extra income, because I don’t think the new coach will accept that under his reign.
Tetteh is not the messiah of Rwandan football or the national teams to be precise, and he will tell you the same if you asked him, but with his huge experience dealing with young players, this country wouldn’t get a better man if we are to achieve what we’ve been preaching in the last two years or so.
For a man destined to succeed or fail, you don’t need a second chance to see it. Just by listening to him talk, and it’s what you see is what you get. That’s exactly what I saw in Tetteh on his unveiling at the Sports ministry conference hall on Friday.
All his statements, including answers to questions raised by journalists, were articulate. Unlike most of his predecessors, the man didn’t make any promises, neither did he sound like he’s here to raise anyone’s hopes to unprecedented levels.
All he emphasized was patience, commitment and full support from anyone connected to his job descriptions, and to me he had a very good point because us here we’re preoccupied with the need for instant success and if we don’t get, we rush to change the coach.
We tend to forget that the coach is working with very limited resources in terms of almost everything, maybe apart from his salary.
Despite the press conference which was supposed to start at 10 o’clock, taking off two hours late, no one was complaining, and the few who did, did it with less anger as they all wanted to be part of Tetteh’s first appearance as Rwanda’s new coach and at the end of it, he did not disappoint and we all left happy.
Maybe I was fooled!
But he knows he won’t be judged basing on a press conference but rather what he achieves in the next two years, that’s why, as he dives into the deep end of management at the highest level, he knows this is his opportunity to market himself to the highest bidder.
If the next two years prove just half as successful for him as the expectations of Rwandans, then Tetteh, at the end of his mandate, would be selling like hot cake, and that could make it hard for Rwanda to retain him, which is why both parties should make better use of each other while they still have the chance.