Q&A with Stephen Abugri
"The second coaching casualty of this season, King Faisal's Stephen Abugri speaks in his first lengthy interview after he, in his words, "was asked to step aside - not sacked." In the interview, Abugri gives the club owner several stinging back-handed criticisms. Here's an extract of the interview transcribed and made available to Supersport.com..
What's been the relationship between yourself and Faisal?
A letter has been given to me to step aside for one month so I’m stepping aside; I’m still with King Faisal and would still be taking salary. They didn’t say they’ve sacked me.
The contract I have with the club is for two solid years. I have been instructed by my manager (Kurt Okraku) to keep my silence on certain issues so until then, I cannot reveal some secrets.
I want to congratulate everybody especially the president of King Faisal, Alhaji Karim Gruzah. He was in a very serious situation when I joined his club. I, Stephen Abugri, was teaching in my classroom in Tema. He called me to meet him at Osu in the former CEO Mr Odotei’s house.
I went, and was given an offer and God being wonderful, I was able to bring King Faisal from a serious situation; played the second round of the Division One League unbeaten, qualified the team to the middle league and eventually qualified to the premiership.
After the one month, it will be left on me and Alhaji to decide whether to continue or not. Hiring and firing of a coach is no news. There have been top class coaches who have once been sacked before. Almost every coach in Ghana has been sacked before so if Stephen Abugri has been asked to step aside, I thank Alhaji Karim Gruzah. I have proved to him I’m a very competent coach. May God give him long life!
I still belong to Faisal and I’m not afraid today or tomorrow to be sacked; everybody knows what I have done for the club so if this is my reward to stay aside, God is in control.
You sound like you are expecting to be sacked
I’m not expecting to be sacked but I’m reacting to what Alhaj Karim Gruzah is telling the media - that I don’t respect. Is it today I don’t respect? When you heard I don’t respect, why did you come to me?
God will judge everybody. Alhaji Karim Gruzah is the most respectful man in Ghana. He’s been receiving rewards of being very respectful so Stephen Abugri today, I am not respectful. If you knew I was not respectful why should he have come for me? I thank Alhaji Gruzah. He gave me the chance and I brought his team back to the premier league and this is what I can be proud of.
You’ve not been sacked so why are you thanking management
He said I should stay away for one month and Ghana one month, to stay away from work for one month, you know. Sack or no sack is 50-50 and so far as I’m a professional coach, I’m never afraid of a sack. Quality doors are opened. Therefore I’m waiting for the one month to hear their decision. His team was in shambles and I came to save him.
Was your job being interfered with?
Like I earlier said, my manager has instructed me not to reveal certain secrets until the time is due. When the time is due, you will hear from me on the challenges of the Faisal job.
Are you bitter?
I brought the club this far from the relegation zone in the Division One league when they had only 7 points and managed to go unbeaten to qualify for the premier league, yet I’m being rewarded in this manner. I won’t say I’m bitter, that is the work of God. God will let you do a good job yet human beings will say you have done less. Who knew my colleague Eddie Ansah could get the job of Black Leopards in South Africa? The coaching job is open in the world and I could go anywhere.
Stephen Abugri was speaking to Kessben FM in Kumasi on Tuesday.