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Kenichi Yatsuhashi

Kenichi Yatsuhashi – A Japanese, college coach, so what?

Coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi training with the Hearts team

Coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi training with the current Accra Hearts of Oak  team

After the appointment of Kenichi Yatsuhashi – a Japanese- American coach – to guide Ghana giants Hearts of Oak come next season, he has become the butt of a joke in the eyes of a section of the public and sports journalists.

It’s such a pity. Honestly, Ghanaians always have a way of exposing their ignorance to the world. When did nationality become a yardstick in measuring a good coach? The qualities or abilities of a good coach can never and will never depend on the nationality of an individual. Yatsuhashi is a Japanese, so what? Have we forgotten so soon that a Serbian (Milovan Rajevac) who had no experience on the Africa soil took the Black Stars to the quarter finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The self-righteous and holier than thou critics of Yatsuhashi who have no tangible reasons to criticize the man should give us a break. And to those saying we have good coaches in Ghana, and for that matter the appointment of Keni is an insult to our indigenous coaches, remember the same rod will be used to measure our countrymen should they land a job outside the shores of this country. Will you be happy about it?

Are we saying there are no better coaches in Sudan since our own coach Kwesi Appiah is guiding one of their football clubs? Some Ghanaian sports journalists must know better and should stop the needless and pointless arguments.

Shockingly, some Ghanaian coaches, who should know better, have also joined the fray, saying the appointment of a foreign coach by Hearts of Oak indirectly insinuates they are incompetent. It will be very disgraceful on their part if Kenichi excels in next season’s premier league. They should brace up for a tough fight next season and stop raining irrelevant insults on the Japanese.


Experience counts a lot in coaching. However, it takes a lot of tact and game reading to soar in the coaching business. Even the veterans in the business do struggle at a point – take Jose Mourinho at Chelsea as an example – so it will be unfair on the part of Ghanaians to solely assess Keni with just one indicator.

Coach David Duncan was more than experienced when he joined Hearts of Oak. He had coached Free State Stars in South Africa, the Under-17 and U-23 teams of Ghana and even some Premier League clubs, yet he failed to make a major impact with the Rainbow Club.

Let’s give Yatsuhashi a chance because a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. You don’t need to coach Chelsea or Barcelona to be a Hearts of Oak manager. So it’s either you join the boat to sail to its destination quietly or jump out of the boat for the captain (Kenichi Yatsuhashi) to sail Hearts of Oak through next season’s Premier league. Period!

Source: Betty Yawson | Sports Journalist | Starr FM

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