ACCRA: Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has been appointed the new coach of Ghana for the Africa Nations Cup in substitute host Equatorial Guinea in January.
Grant, 59, has signed a 27-month deal to take over from Maxwell Konadu, who had been in temporary charge since Kwesi Appiah left in September. In theory this means working through until after the 2017 Nations Cup.
The Ghana Football Association has given Grant a target of “doing well” at the upcoming tournament and to win the event two years later.
GFA president Kwesi Nyantekyie said: “It would be unfair to ask a coach appointed only one month before a tournament to win the trophy. But he must do well and then the FA will assess his performance after the Nations Cup.”
Grant is the 32nd national coach of the Black Stars. In that time they have also had three caretaker coaches
Grant, who took Chelsea to the 2008 Champions League Final, was most recently the technical director at Thai side BEC Tero Sasana.
His previous coaching role was at Partizan Belgrade from 2012 to 2014, during which time he steered the club to their fifth consecutive Serbian championship.
As well as spells in charge of English clubs Portsmouth and West Ham, Grant has international experience from four years coaching Israel’s national side.
Issa Hayatou, long-serving president of the African confederation, has conceded he expects an “imperfect” hosting of the imminent Nations Cup finals with Equatorial Guinea having so litle time in which to prepare after substiuting for Morocco on November 14.
Hayatou, in a BBC interview, said: “If I say there will be no problems, I would be lying. In two months we can’t bring together everything that is needed without there being some imperfections.” Concerns include over “catering, accommodation, internal transport, international transport and media.”
Matches will be held in Bata, Ebebiyin, Mongomo and the capital Malabo. In 2012, only Malabo and Bata were used.
Equatorial Guinea stepped in as hosts after CAF rejected Morocco’s request to postpone the tournament out of concern about the potential spread of ebola.
However Hayatou said: “There has not been one single case of Ebola in Equatorial Guinea, why are they scared? They shouldn’t be scared. We are not irresponsible. Even us at CAF, we’re human beings. Do you think we at CAF would be there if there was Ebola?
“So I say to the African players, there’s no obligation to come and play. If they don’t want to come then that’s a matter for their country’s football federation.”
Relocating the tournament to Equatorial Guinea – who co-hosted with Gabon in 2012 – has also sparked football-related controversy.
The country’s national team were penalised for fielding an ineligible player in qualifying, which led to their elimination, but they have been reinstated as hosts.
“They came to our rescue. If you were in our place what would you do? Organise a tournament without the host nation? It’s never happened,” said Hayatou.
“So we had to call on their national team to complete the 16-team line-up. They came to our rescue so it’s perfectly normal that their national team is part of this tournament.”
The draw for the finals will be held in Malabo on December 3.
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