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The Man Behind Ghana's World Cup Qualification

Ghana's coach Otto Addo looks on during the World Cup 2022 qualifying football match between Nigeria and Ghana at the National Stadium in Abuja on March 29, 2022.

The major international football tournament taking place in Qatar this month will mark the fourth World Cup appearance for the Black Stars of Ghana, thanks to Otto Addo, the man leading the charge.

Otto Addo was one of the few players of Ghanaian descent whose playing career started and ended in Germany. From 1992 to 2008, he played in Hamburg and Hanover, through Mainz and in Dortmund.

Although Addo dealt with racism as a young footballer in Germany, he said his time as a player developed his maturity, making him resilient and preparing him for the next step in his career.

These days, Addo spends time working as an assistant coach for German team Borussia Dortmund while managing Ghana’s senior national men’s team, the Black Stars. He was the mastermind behind Ghana’s qualification to this year’s World Cup in Qatar following the play-off victory over Nigeria in March.

The 47-year-old dual-nationality coach is already limbering up for the tournament. He has been integrating players born in Europe to Ghanaian parents to reinforce his squad ahead of the World Cup, a move that drew divergent opinions.

"It's always a danger to get new players," Addo told AFP last month but said he believed it would prove advantageous to the Black Stars.

"It's a good situation. We have pressure from the bench because new people are there who are very, very solid in Europe, and we have players on the pitch who have to prove themselves," he said.

Ghana has been drawn in Group H with Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea. It will take a great deal for the Black Stars to advance from the group.

Ghana played Portugal and Uruguay in 2014 and 2010, respectively, and lost. They hope to defeat both teams at this year’s World Cup. Addo admits, however, that it will not be an easy task.

Addo’s record since taking the Black Stars job has been less than stellar. He has lost to Brazil and Japan and has failed to win against Central African Republic. The loses have worried many Ghanaian fans, some of whom have lost faith in the manager.

What Addo does this year in Qatar will determine whether or not he is able to win back support.

"Everything brings something good if you learn from it. I hope that I learnt myself. Maybe I have to do some things differently. If everybody thinks like that then we'll do better. I'm not concerned at all," he told AFP.

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse.