The ex-Leicester City defender has a life to revive as he gets to work in the dugout
By: Sammie Frimpong
It’s just what the doctor ordered for John Paintsil: a fresh start.
Days after announcing his decision to retire from active football and stating his intention to go into coaching, the veteran Ghana full-back has landed his first managerial gig — and, given his next-to-no experience in management, it could hardly have been bigger. The former Berekum Arsenal man was, on Monday, unveiled as one of the new faces who’d henceforth grace the technical bench of South African giants Kaizer Chiefs, joining the Amakhosi as assistant to head Steve Komphela. That’s really no more than he merits after all he’s been through in recent years.
Paintsil, a two-edition Fifa World Cup participant and 89-game member of the Black Stars over several years, received his last Ghana call-up in 2012. His club career — the heights of which saw him represent Fulham and West Ham United in the English Premier League — dragged along to a slow, painful death not long afterwards, eventually ending unceremoniously in the same country where he’s launched his coaching journey.
Disturbed thus in his public business, there’s been precious little solace from Paintsil’s private life where a troubled marital relationship has only gone downhill since Paintsil was nabbed by the police in 2013 for allegedly assaulting his wife physically. For a man who’s had so little to celebrate over the years (albeit having himself to blame for some of it) and who has suffered a sudden demotion from being the lovable flag-waving patriot whose victory laps decorated almost every major Ghana win in his time to a deeply-loathed, woman-abusing villain, Paintsil deserves this big break that he’d be the first to admit he’s barely earned.
Being at continental heavyweights Chiefs in his fresh role wouldn’t cast his demons out, of course. It won’t make him husband-of-the-year, neither will it rid him of the personal demons that seem embedded in his worryingly worsening attitude. This new phase in his life, instead, represents a clean slate Paintsil would be a fool not to fill with glory. Should he make good use of the opportunity, Paintsil could prove even better at coaching than he was at playing; mess this up, though, and his mission of self-ruin would be complete.
Over to you, Jeonju Man.