You’ve heard all about Charles Kwablan Akonnor becoming head coach of the Black Stars, but what has been whispered — yes, whispered — is the identity and profile of his assistant, David Duncan.
Duncan isn’t just 11 years older than Akonnor; he is also more experienced — with a coaching career that stretches back to when his new superior was still Ghana captain — and, to many, the more proven trainer.
Both men do check some common boxes — big ones, in fact — having completed the circuit of Ghana’s three biggest clubs. In 2012, Hearts of Oak of appointed Duncan as a struggling and relatively green Akonnor’s replacement, with the former performing significantly better. At Ashantigold, the definitions of success varied: Duncan coming close quite a few times across two spells to winning the Premier League for the Aboakese, and Akonnor steering his sinking boyhood club from the threat of relegation. And while their accomplishments at Asante Kotoko weren’t recognized with the best of farewells, both left Kumasi with their heads held high.
Before all that, though, came their respective stints in Sekondi, half of the twin Western regional capital. There, Duncan spent some of the early years of his career at the helm of Hasaacas; years later, Akonnor would cut his teeth with Sekondi’s other big club, Eleven Wise. That — and the fact that both are quite articulate and bold, holding their own where other local coaches would simply roll over or cower away from difficult employers — is probably where the comparisons end.
Unlike Akonnor, Duncan has overseen national teams – namely, the Black Starlets and the Black Meteors — in the past, and even has two players he ‘discovered’, Jonathan Mensah and Mubarak Wakaso, as long-serving members of Ghana’s current senior side.
The responsibility now, however, is to nurse and raise a new breed of Stars and, as Akonnor’s right-hand man, Duncan bears much of that. He is easily the most high-profile assistant coach in the national team’s recent history — the likes of Kwasi Appiah, Maxwell Konadu, and Ibrahim Tanko didn’t have such sparkling résumés when appointed to the role – and, thus, carries weightier expectations than most of his predecessors. Heck, some have even argued that he is fit to be boss himself!
It doesn’t really matter in which order Akonnor and Duncan line up in the dug-out, though. Side by side, theirs — a combination of strong characters and strong reputations — is a partnership that could prove Ghana’s finest yet.
Source: NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH