The former player could not end up as a successful coach with the national team, just like at club side, as his reign was tainted with a lot of allegations and speculations
There’s a feeling within the Ghana Football Association that, Akonnor was hired by former Youth and Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah because he proposed him at the Presidency following the decision not to renew the contract of Kwasi Appiah.
When Ghana FA officials notified the ministry of their decision to let go of Appiah, many [people at the ministry] were unhappy. The Normalisation Committee had held discussions with Appiah and was working on renewing his contract.
But, Ghana FA president Kurt Okraku and his team said no. There were serious disagreements.
Eventually, Jubilee House gave in but insisted it must be a local coach.
Three days later, Ghana FA presented a list of three coaches. Interestingly, C.K Akonnor was not one of them.
Simply put, Akonnor was not even part of the top five list of the FA.
Word had it that, lobbying had gone on behind the scenes at the blind side of Ghana FA. During the visit to the Jubilee House to agree on Appiah’s successor, Akonnor’s name came up and it was mentioned by Isaac Asiamah. The Jubilee House, led by President Akufo Addo approved it.
President Akufo Addo reportedly extolled Akonnor’s qualities and said to Kurt Okraku; ‘he has managed Eleven Wise, Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko, and even your very own Dreams FC. Give him the job.’
Kurt Okraku was stunned. ‘This was a man I work with so if he’s to be considered, I should have known,’ he reportedly said.
That was the genesis of their issues. Akonnor got a salary of $25,000 per month. GNPC boss Dr KK Sarpong was reportedly not even willing to pay that amount to Akonnor because he believed he did not merit that position and salary.
However, FA said they will work on ensuring he gets the same salary as Kwesi Appiah, but GNPC would have none of that. Eventually, Akonnor had to take the $25k.
Many would recall when Akonnor’s appointment and salary were shared, I added there were some strings attached to the money. Some people were going to get cuts from that money.
When Akonnor made his first Europe, a plethora of things came up including players allegedly giving him money. Akonnor heard allegations and was disappointed. Whether true or not, it was authenticated but the FA had their ears on the ground, too.
He named his first squad in February 2020. Before that squad was released, he was given a list. Akonnor was not willing to budge but new names came up in the call-up.
It is alleged, Kurt Okraku said he won’t spend half a million dollars for someone to market his players through the national so it was not going to happen. Anytime players were called, they will ask him to remove some names and replace them with others.
Okraku and Akonnor’s relationship deteriorated to the extent that, they were not on talking terms. It was at that point Kurt began lobbying to have Akonnor sacked. He tried three times without success. Powerful political hands were on Akonnor and that saved him.
After the failed attempt to sack Akonnor, he invited some players for some games. Najeeb Yakubu and Edmund Ako Mensah were called. The FA president replaced them with Gideon Mensah and Philemon Baffour.
Now, let me give a bit of credence to Akonnor words last year when he was appointed. He said was not going to call players based on names, and it is true. He didn’t want to call Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey. A leader of the FA asked him if he has any player who can play for Leicester?
Amartey had to come eventually. Some of the new players were never invited by Akonnor. They were passed through the Technical Director to get Akonnor to call them in the end. Some of them were Ambrosius, Manaf, Liweling, Kofi Kyereh and Braydon Manu (the player who said he didn’t deserve the Black Stars call up).
Akonnor also had issues with his assistant David Duncan. It is widely speculated that Akonnor did not want Duncan to assist him. Their issues began in Turkey during the friendly matches against Mali and Qatar.
Duncan was at a point not permitted to speak to the Black Stars and the situation was that bad.
If you frequently thronged to their training sessions, you would notice that Akonnor was doing the sessions himself instead of the usual assistant leading it and a lot of people accused him of ‘insecurity’. This happened because Akonnor had given Duncan a session a few minutes before the start of the match against Mali. Duncan wanted to warm the team his way, CK told Duncan in Ga, we won’t do it like that. Andre Ayew ended up leading the warm-up session.
Because of this supposed insecurity, Akonnor reportedly refused to use scouting reports presented to him.
In the South Africa World Cup qualifier which happened to be his last match, an ExCo revealed how Akonnor was presented with a vivid report, but he never used it. The report was so detailed that, the ExCo member said if they had used it, their worst would have been a draw. He was so angry that, he declared he has to go but they needed political clearance.
There were two meetings with high ranking politicians to replace Akonnor. The ministry of youth and sports hadn’t approved as of last Friday, but a meeting this weekend brought CK to his knees, despite disagreements even within the GFA ExCo members.
The new sports minister Mustapha Ussif watched the World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and South Africa and was unconvinced, per sources, but he could not easily approve his sacking. He did some consultation, too.
About a week ago, GFA president Kurt Okraku, in the company of Mohammed Jiji Alifo, told some people he knew Akonnor cannot do the ‘job’ as Ghana coach. Eventually, government agreed to Ghana FA’s decision and C.K Akonnor was sacked.
Great job by my colleague Muftawu Nabila Abdulai ✅