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What did we learn from Kwesi Appiah's first press conference?

New Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah cast a calm figure as he fielded questions in his first interaction with the local media since returning to his role as Black Stars boss.

The former Ghana captain has signed a two-year contract to replace former boss Avram Grant and has promised to ensure that Ghanaians can be 'proud of the team again'.

What else did we learn from Appiah's first press conference?

Door still open for Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng: Boateng drove Kwesi Appiah to tears after the 2014 World Cup, while Muntari turned the team hotel on its head in a late-night assault on a management member. However, Appiah is adamant that if the duo are still in good form, they will be considered in his plans. 

While Muntari's career has not exactly kicked on since he was suspended after the World Cup, Boateng has been rejuvenated at Las Palmas.

"I do not hold grudges," Appiah said. "If Sulley and Boateng are playing well, then like any other Ghanaians, they will be considered."

Gyan stays as captain: Much of the conversation since Appiah was named as the new boss has centred on what he intends to do about a potential split in the team over the captaincy, with some factions in the team backing West Ham's Andre Ayew, and others holding faith in Asamoah Gyan.

Appiah answered critics emphatically when he insisted that he's planning to continue with Gyan.

The new man is himself a former captain who was once at the centre of a tussle for the armband with Ayew's father, Abedi Pele, and says that unless Gyan decides to call time on his national team career or doesn't merit a spot in the squad, he will continue in the role.

Will his unequivocal statements be enough to put the murmurs of discontent to bed?

Andre Ayew, centre, has replaced Asamoah Gyan as Ghana's captain for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Andre Ayew, centre, has replaced Asamoah Gyan as Ghana's captain for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ambitious targets: Ghana Football Association vice president George Afriyie was keen to point out throughout that Appiah has not been appointed simply because he is Ghanaian. He has returned, Afriyie said, because he showed a greater understanding of the Ghanaian game and better awareness of what it means to get the team winning again than some of his rivals for the post.

However, Appiah's suitability for the role may have prompted the GFA to set their targets as high as possible.

Afriyie said that Appiah has to win the 2019 Nations Cup for Ghana "because he is taking over a team that has reached the semifinals the last five tournaments" and the new coach has also been charged with securing qualification for the 2018 World Cup. 

Familiar names return: Appiah's comeback has triggered sweeping changes in the Black Stars' backroom staff, with the changes likely to please those who have long argued that ex-internationals should have a bigger say in the running of the team.

Former captain Stephen Appiah has been handed the new role of technical co-ordinator and will be responsible for liaising between the technical team and the playing body.

Appiah was keen to point out that the role had been designed to ensure that national side's former captain will have a bigger influence in the team and won't be purely concerned with micro-managing logistical details.

Ex-Juventus midfielder Appiah will be joined in the backroom staff by the former Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Birmingham City goalkeeper Richard Kingston, who made 90 appearances for Ghana, as the new goalkeeper's trainer.

Konadu demoted, Tanko's rise continues: The idea in many circles within Ghanaian football is that at some point, former Borussia Dortmund and Ghana striker Ibrahim Tanko will become a Ghana boss.

In naming the former hitman as his primary assistant, Appiah has effectively brought him one step closer to that dream.

Tanko worked with Cameroon in a similar role under the German Volker Finke and as scout for Grant, and has the qualities to thrive in this position.

However, his appointment means a demotion for Maxwell Konadu, one of the remaining faces from Appiah's first tenure, who has been designated as 'number two assistant', with a particular focus on the Black Stars' B team.


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