Ghana has a new soccer coach.
Israeli Avram Grant, who spent six years in England with Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham United, replaces temporary coach Maxwell Monadu, who was installed after Kwesi Appiah left the post in early September.
His contract runs up until the end of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Ghana Soccer Association president, Kwesi Nyantekyie, said Grant is a motivator and organizer.
“We needed someone with a certain stature or pedigree who can manage the egos of our players as well as their expectations and those of Ghanaians in general,” he said. “He has managed a lot of top-class players and coping with the high profile players has been the bane of many African coaches. We believe his quality will turn things around for us.”
As Chelsea’s boss, Grant’s team lost to Manchester United in the 2008 European Champions League final. After guiding Partizan Belgrade to its fifth consecutive Serbian championship two years ago, he resigned and spent the earlier part of the year as technical director of BEC Tero Sasana in Thailand.
Ghana’s 32nd head coach, Grant will attempt to motivate the West African team to reclaim the Africa Cup of Nations crown they last held in 1982.
A four-time Africa Cup of Nations winner, Ghana is the fifth-ranked African side in the latest International Soccer Federation (FIFA) rankings. They trail Algeria, which is the world’s 18th-ranked country, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Guinea – which qualified for the regional championship with wins over Togo and Uganda – climbed 17 places to move to number six in Africa and 38th in the world.
Cape Verde, Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria and Mali complete the top 10 African countries in the FIFA world rankings.
Seven-time Africa Cup of Nations champions Egypt – which failed to secure a spot in next year’s tournament – fell 22 places and is ranked 14th on the continent and 60th in the world.