Calm. Composed. Commanding.
If there are higher adjectives to describe Otto Addo when he walked into the press convention room to face international cameras, these three fits him.
A novel man.
A novel stage.
A novel alternative. One that has by no means been witnessed before in the annals of this country’s football.
“I feel very honoured,” he says. “To have been part of this team as a player and now as a coach, it’s a privilege and a big honour for me to serve Ghana and now on the side of the pitch.”
Not many know the way it feels to be on the pitch for a World Cup match, and clearly not many can boast of a second on this stage on the touchline.
But, Otto Addo, the man whose technical nous Ghanaians can be counting on to lead these arsenals on this month’s Mundial is a particular breed.
About 16 years in the past, when Ghana lined up for the workforce photograph against the Czech Republic at the RheinEnergieStadion for its second-ever World Cup game, there was a lanky man in the set-up at the far left.
His hair slept on his head like a corn roll.
Within a minute into this contest before the international cameras, he was seen making a darting run upfield when Sulley Muntari delivered a corner kick into the Czech’s field which was nodded out.
The ball discovered its manner to then-skipper Stephen Appiah, who dummied his onrushing marker and delivered an inch-perfect cross to the toes of Asamoah Gyan to strike house the West African country’s first-ever World Cup goal.
Two players have been shut to Gyan when he hit the ball past the attain of Petr Cech and wheeled away to the far left finish of the stadium before stopping to first, contact the instep of his proper boot along with his proper fingers, and left instep along with his left fingers, and later pointed these fingers in the air in celebration. One was Matthew Amoah and the other, was Otto Addo, the man who would lead the workforce he was half of in its first-ever win in a Mundial to Qatar this year.
If a fortune-teller or sorcerer had told him 16 years on, he would head the technical bench of this enviable establishment, he would have thought of it as a mirage.
But, the actuality is right here before the very eyes of this man whose brilliance on the touchline is taken into account one of a form.
Otto and plenty of of his colleagues disappeared from the scene for years after the Germany event, working in numerous capacities as they continued their careers on the pitch, imparting knowledge of the game to the subsequent era.
With a 16-year enjoying profession spent in Germany with six groups, the 47-year-old ushered himself into the technical area of this emotional-sapping sport.
A four-year alternative to work with Hamburger, one of his former golf equipment, first as an assistant coach and later as interim coach, was the starting of this outstanding journey, which will shoot him again to the limelight of Ghana media.
Many have come, however a couple of are chosen.
Otto grew to become an element of the few chosen to climb a top he would by no means have imagined, however nature has a story for each soul. To have risen to a point the place he might handle a German club in the interim, his high quality didn’t go unnoticed as Ghana’s football governing body, Ghana Football Association (GFA) engaged his services to scout for the senior national workforce for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Tasked to cover the particulars of Germany, one of Ghana’s group opponents for the event in the South American country, Otto’s report helped Ghana produce one of the greatest performances of the competitors, drawing 2-2 against the DieMannschaftt.
The Black Stars was the solely opponent that didn’t lose to the Germans as they lifted the international coveted trophy.
Success for Otto.
His distinctive attribute was uncommon and he grew to become a jewel to be admired.
When Kurt Okraku, President of the GFA had a possibility to appoint a technical workforce for the three-time World Cup members, Otto Addo was an apparent alternative. He was thought-about to work with former Black Stars coach, Charles Kwablan Akonnor, however his role at Borussia Dortmund (expertise scout) wouldn’t allow him to serve his country.
However, with Milovan Rajevac, the man who led the Black Stars to its highest end in a World Cup (quarterfinal), returned for a second stint, Otto accepted to function an assistant, serving to the Serbian safe a World Cup playoff ticket.
Rajevac was sacked after a disastrous exhibiting in Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and Otto grew to become the axiomatic alternative. The man Kurt at all times needed, however he had the hurdle of Chris Hughton, an English manager with Ghanaian roots to deal with. Chris holds a profile each football workforce would need.
Politicians needed him they usually had the backing of many together with a bit of the media.
But, when there’s a will, there’s a manner; the ‘Game Changer’ as Kurt is affectionately known as, discovered a manner to rent the man he revered.
“I must say, it was Kurt Okraku who wanted Otto [Addo],” Anthony Baffoe, former Black Stars defender who was instrumental in convincing the Borussia Dortmund technical man to settle for the job revealed.
“He wanted him badly,” he added.
Wanting Otto badly meant he was on a tangent to make sure quarters sad, so he discovered a manner of making them completely happy.
Hughton bought the role of a Technical Advisor to Otto and his workforce consisting of former Aston Villa U23 coach, George Boateng, and Head of Football at Right to Dream, Masaud Didi Dramani.
Two assignments awaited him. No. Three really: a house and away World Cup ticket against rivals, Nigeria, and the weight of lacking out on the last event in Russia in 2018, a year the chilly arms of alleged corruption and match-fixing gripped football in Ghana and dropped it to its knees.
Football on this West African country remains to be reeling from that affect, typically questioning when it will be counted amongst the greatest in the world. It was worsened by the fact that the supplies at his disposal two months in the past, had the worst AFCON exhibiting of this 4 occasions African champions which have immortalised its standing on this stage since 1984.
It was a accountability nobody needed, however Otto took accountability to salvage a state of affairs he didn’t create and unite a country he didn’t divide.
Only a win might change these fortunes; not simply that, however his fortune, too, as a result of many doubted he was of good high quality to lead this national workforce.
A win was by no means realised, however in the finish, the final goal was achieved. A ticket to heaven as Kurt Okraku put it.
It started at the Baba Yara stadium which ended clean, leaving hopes on a thread, however the Black Stars overcame the Super Eagles through an away goal after incomes a 1-1 attract Abuja.
Before kick off the Moshood Abiola stadium, the partisan crowd sang a refrain, ‘Ghana Must Go!’ and Ghana ‘goweth’ to Qatar at their expense.
Success with a man who has a novel identification with this national workforce. Take a glance at the chronology: performed in the first-ever win Ghana secured at a World Cup, served as a scout in the solely draw Ghana had at the 2014 World Cup, and have become the second native of this country to lead its national workforce to the Mundial after Kwasi Appiah in 2014, and the most of this delectable CV, the first of his era to lead the Black Stars to this international fiesta.
That is exclusive. Unique is an understatement. But, his uniqueness has not sown a seed of confidence in Ghanaians since then and forward of the World Cup in Qatar.
Since assuming the head role of technical affairs of the Black Stars, Otto has managed simply three wins in 9 matches.
Among these 9 matches, the 2010 quarterfinalist was pummeled 4-1 by Japan in a four-nation event dubbed Kirin Cup and 3-0 by bookmakers’ favourites for the year World Cup, Brazil.
In between, there have been so-so performances against Central Africa Republic, Chile, and Nicaragua.
If the pummeling witnessed against Brazil was a mismatch, the output against Nicaragua didn’t raise spirits and supply hope.
However, there’s hope; hope influenced by earlier World Cup performances bar the 2014 version which was blotted by a bonus row as players revolted and boycotted coaching before the closing group game against Portugal which resulted in a 2-1 loss, and the inclusion of new stars of international reputation.
Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, who switched nationality from Spain to Ghana affords a bite-up area which has been absent since Asamoah Gyan, Africa’s highest goal scorer at this stage, bought to the twilight of his profession. Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu, who lately availed himself to play for the Black Stars is a seawall whose presence shores the again line. Other players resembling Tariq Lamptey, Salis Abdul Samed, and Kamal Sowah, supply dexterity to the technical workforce on this event.
The experience of Thomas Partey, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey, and Alexander Djiku, coupled with thrilling lads resembling Mohammed Kudus, Kamal Deen Sulemana, Daniel Kofi Kyereh, Ghana has an meeting of arsenals that may match any opponent.
The buildup won’t be thrilling, simply as in 2006 and 2010, however this street has been witnessed before.
As Kurt said, “our national team can be compared to any national team in the world.”
“Nothing is impossible,” Otto added.
Who would have thought Saudi Arabia can be the country to finish Argentina’s 36-game unbeaten streak?
Who would have thought Japan would beat Germany on Wednesday night time?
When the gods of football rise in your favour, every thing falls into place.
In the finish, after the alternate of pleasantries, the Black Stars will flip to a crowd that missed them right here, brighten Qatar and illuminate the relaxation of the world.
Ghana’s kind information
Ghana 0-0 Nigeria
Nigeria 1-1 Ghana
Ghana 3-0 Madagascar
Central Africa Republic 1-1 Ghana
Japan 4-1 Ghana
Chile 0-0 Ghana
Brazil 3-0 Ghana
Ghana 1-0 Nicaragua
World Cup fixtures
Portugal vs Ghana – November 24
Ghana vs South Korea – November 28
Uruguay vs Ghana – December 2
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