Head Coach of the Senior National team, Charles Kwabla Akonnor is eyeing a bright start to his Black Stars tenure when he leads his boys to take-on Mali later today.
The Black Stars face the Eagles at the Emir Sports Complex at Antalya, Turkey, in what will be Akonnor’s first game in charge since taking over from the erstwhile Coach, James Akwasi Appiah.
Akonnor, a former national team captain is very new to this particular role although he served briefly as assistant under Appiah before the latter eventually left his post.
He has also had coaching stints with the likes of Dreams FC, Ashantigold FC, Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak and will be counting on such experiences to make his Black Stars tenure a success.
How he starts is however crucial and definitely, Akonnor will not gloss over this important occasion that could set the tone for success in his adventure as the head coach of Ghana’s most followed national team.
Touching on his first game in an interview with Ghana FA’s website, Akonnor said; “I am not tensed; this is a friendly match and it is important for me to look deep into it and see who can help the team and make it better. We want to be a team that will attack and play constructive football, easy going football, but with lots of discipline.
Akonnor’s focus on the team in his initial days in charge has centered on carving an identity for the Black Stars.
He has also never shied away from preaching the need for discipline and team unity as Ghana pushes for a return to the apex of African football.
“I want to try as much as I can to bring our style of play, I have been around for a while and everyone knows how I go about my team, how they play and that is the Ghanaian way of playing, and so I want to do my best in that area,” he said.
Mali will present a decent competition for Ghana and should give Akonnor a fair idea of what lies ahead in his stint with the Black Stars. But with the quality at his display presently, he knows he cannot afford to get a poor start in his first game.
The presence of some key players should help the coach select a solid team for the encounter. The likes of Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey and Jordan Ayew should be enough to help in this aspect.
In a game like this, there is the need to eschew nervousness which could trigger the panic button and cause the Coach to get it wrong with his starting lineup. This is crucial because to get the start he desires, he needs to get his lineup spot on even before the players take to the field.
On his opponents, Akonnor is well aware of their strengths as he told Ghanafa.org.
“Mali is a strong side, we have seen a couple of matches that they played in the AFCON, a very strong force and it is a very good test for us. We want to go there and try as much as possible to do our best and of course win that match”.
With the coach being fully aware, there certainly should be no need for relaxing and underestimating the opponents.