For a moment, I had almost given up on any real chance of locals getting the opportunity to represent their country at the highest level. Ghana had hired a coach who could not be bothered about domestic talent, I thought.
I assumed that Goran Stevanovic had chosen the easy route to Black Stars management – he would live in the comfort of his Serbian home and use Ghanaians players plying their trade abroad. It doesn’t matter how many times some of them blew the chance they were given.
It appears that I wasn’t the only concerned about this state of affairs. Zdravko Lugarusic, head coach of AshantiGold SC had expressed similar sentiments. So were many others. It looks like Stevanovic has heard our cry.
A recent GHANAWEB report has however reduced my fears. A widow has opened for local talent. Goran Stevanovic has reportedly arrived in Ghana to scout local football for possible talent who might strengthen the Black Stars.
Is this ‘I am here to scout’ talk just another smokescreen covering the real intentions of Stevanovic and his backroom staff? Good as the news sounds, one would have to watch the national team handlers closely. All may not be as promising as we have been made to believe. Already, a large amount of media reports have been put out there of a certain football agency, Virtus International, having a say in Stevanovic’s player selection policy. Could it be that the national team handlers are going to pick players who are linked to this particular Virtus International or similar agencies?
One cannot be so sure in these interesting days. To avoid some of these conflicts of interest showing up, a transparent scouting policy may come handy. This policy should clearly spell out the mode of the scouting, the leagues to scout and the criteria for player selection.
At present, we have little reason to doubt Stevanovic’s intentions. However, if Stevanovic and his backroom staff are to have the best of their scouting activities, they ought to be reminded that the best of local talent are not only in the premier league. There are more than enough decent talents in the lower leagues. We are all witnesses to how a certain Nania FC has in recent months won the FA Cup and the Super Cup at the expense of proven clubs like Heart of Lions, Berekum Chelsea and Asante Kotoko. Similarly, a couple of seasons ago, with little changes to their squad Aduana came from the lower divisions to win the premier league after an almost undefeated season.
The often flawed scouting system of some of the premier league clubs mean that would-be great talent never get scouted into the premier league. There are several player agents who take advantage of the poor scouting of clubs to push their not-so-good players to premiership clubs.
Herbert Addo has already suffered from scouting only the premier league for national team squads. Addo picked players who had been hyped by the media to CHAN 2011. There is no point rehashing the sad consequence of this scouting policy. Ghana was lucky to have scored one goal in the tournament. The same fate befell David Duncan when he was given the Black Meteors.
So, if Stevanovic and his backroom staff are planning to depend only on media-hyped players in the premier league, then I guess he is better off staying in Serbia because we will be back to square one.
And when he finds players, he should be reminded that they also, being equally Ghanaian, deserve the chance to ‘fail’ as much as some of the current have until they become good enough. Why should the goose deserve more than the gander?