Ghana Rush – Kotoku Royals FC Coach Paolo Campagna
When Paolo Campagna moved to Ghana to take over the Kotoku Royals FC in October, he found himself thrust into a job teeming with opportunity as well as challenges. However, as one of Rush’s newest clubs in Africa, Campagna sees more hope than ever for the club.
“When Raoul Voss started to talk with me about this program, I liked where Rush wanted to take it and all the opportunities that are here,” Campagna said. “There are some talented players here who could play in many leagues around the world. The soccer culture here is crazy and everyone is invested in the game. But there are some things we’re trying to change to help build a more professional environment.”
Campagna, the Italy native who was coaching in the New England area prior to accepting the assignment with the Kotoku Royals, has worked to mesh together the laidback African culture with the more rigorous standards of professionalism required to establish a winning club.
“At the beginning when I got here, there were players only eating one meal per day,” Campagna said. “There was no attention to proper diet, and the players didn’t have the energy they needed to perform at the highest level. So, we’ve worked to change that.
“There was also an issue with players not being prompt and just showing up whenever they felt like it. It’s hard to run a training session when nobody was acting like professionals.”
But Campagna appreciates the rich talent pool the club already has while also seeking to deepen it within the smaller community of Akim Oda, located 75 miles northwest of Accra.
“The players here know how to play,” Campagna said. “There’s really little doubt about that. We can improve some of our tactical play, but the talent is there for this team and these players to go to a higher level.”
Campagna’s faith in the player’s clubs is one of the reasons he’s a perfect fit for taking the Kotoku Royals from a middle-of-the-road Division 1 team to Ghana’s Premiership.
“One of the things I like about Rush is how they believe in their players,” Campagna said. “Rush truly believes they can develop a successful academy here in Ghana as well as develop future players. What Rush has already done here by giving more accessibility to players for good coaching and training will help develop players in this region like they’ve never had a chance to do before.”