If there has been an expatriate whose exact involvement with the Black Stars has been shrouded in uncertainty, it’s got to be Gerard Nus.
The 31-year-old joined Ghana ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and although currently out of contract with the GFA, he’s been regarded by many as Avram Grant’s right-hand man in scouting players abroad.
Prince Narkortu Teye caught up with the former Melbourne City assistant coach, who has previously worked alongside Rafael Benitez at Liverpool, on his time in Ghana as well as the next crop of youngsters who could line up for the Black Stars.
You joined Ghana for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. How was the experience working with the Black Stars?
It was really good working alongside Avram Grant who has experience working with so many great clubs in England. I had a really good time with Ghana.
You were introduced by the Ghana Football Association as a video analyst but other reports said you were actually an assistant coach. Can you clarify your exact relationship with the GFA?
I have always been a football coach in all clubs with whom I worked before my appointment with Ghana. I have never been a video analyst guy or something like that, and when I was coming here [Ghana], I said that. I have been managing training sessions, organising things, and helping every single department that my work requires. We were really positive in terms of the performance because we reached the final and we almost won it [the trophy]. I was happy to be a part of it. I was one of the assistant coaches of the Ghana national team.
How painful was the penalty defeat to Cote d’Ivoire in the final after playing so well in the match proper?
It was very painful but that’s football and at the end of the day, you need to take it the way it is. We need to mature, move on and think about the next.
Is it a dream of yours to coach Ghana in the future?
It’s a dream for any coach or any assistant coach to manage one of the most important [teams]. With the future and commitment of Ghana, not too many coaches in the world can refuse. It’s an honour to be part of this. I think this is a huge job for any coach with ambitions.
Are we likely to see you back with the Black Stars for the 2017 Afcon?
I will like it, but that will obviously depend on the GFA being interested in me. If we agree with everything, hopefully, yes.
You are close friends with Avram Grant whose future has been thrown in doubt. From your conversations with him, does it look like he will be staying beyond the 2017 Afcon?
To be honest, I don’t know. I speak with him, but I don’t know what will actually happen and I definitely don’t know his intentions. I know that he’s working a lot on adding from the players we have around the world, especially in Europe. But I can imagine that it [extending his contract] will depend on the results and how the team looks ahead. It’s a personal question and he’s the only one that can reply to this.
What do you make of the exploits of Thomas Teye Partey at Atletico Madrid, and how soon should we expect him to play with the Black Stars, judging from your conversations with Grant?
Partey is one of the players we have been watching for long, and not just recently. He’s one of the most interesting players for the future. I really like him and I think he’s playing in one of the best teams under a great coach, Simeone. Sooner or later, he’s going to have his chance to help the Black Stars to be successful.
What is the latest on Ghana’s chase for the services of Spain under-21 and Atletico Bilbao forward Inaki Williams?
What I know about Inaki Williams is that he’s got a few issues as he could be joining other national teams [Spain or Liberia]. He’s an attacking player and there’s no doubt about his level or how good he will be with our [Ghana] national team. We’ve been talking about him and I know that some people from the GFA have been managing those things because there is a more complicated thing regarding his paperwork, passport and the other national teams that also want him. I’m concerned about it.
I wish he comes to Ghana, honestly. I’m Spanish myself but I really want Ghana to be among the best in the world. I wish the best players join the Ghana national team, and I think Inaki could have his chance sooner or later. That said, it would depend on his issues. More documentation, which I’m not fully aware of, is required. I’m more aware of his performance, the technical and the tactical side. In terms of the level that he has, there’s no doubt that he could join the Black Stars.
Has Timothy Fosu-Mensah come up anywhere in your discussions with Grant?
It’s not just him. We talk almost every week about players. Ghana is an amazing country in terms of producing players. We discover players almost every month, in the States for example, playing at the university level. These are obviously young players that will come up sooner or later to the MLS, come back to Africa or Europe. The most important thing is to be sure that they have that level to improve what we actually have.