JAMIE Lawrence was meant to be watching his beloved Bantams at Millwall next weekend.

Instead, the ever-popular City old boy will be working 3,172 miles away in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

The chance of an afternoon radio summarising in the FA Cup tie at the Den has been jettisoned for a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity as fitness coach for the Ghanaian national side in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Lawrence has been given an initial contract for six weeks, covering the preparation time, a Spanish-based training camp and the competition itself in Equatorial Guinea.

But should things go well, there is a strong chance of being offered the post longer term.

Lawrence is excited at the challenge of impressing Avram Grant, the former Chelsea, West Ham and Portsmouth boss, who was appointed by Ghana a month ago.

He said: “It’s a massive chance for me, especially with someone like Avram who is respected throughout the game. It could open up so many doors.

“He knows football inside out and it will be great to learn the ropes from him. I’m absolutely buzzing.”

The job came about through Grant’s agent Tony Appiah, who Lawrence knows well. They met for the first time just before Christmas and Grant was impressed with what the enthusiastic 44-year-old had to say.

Having been pushed out at non-league Sutton, Lawrence is pinching himself at making the jump to the international scene.

“I’ve been working for this for nine years,” he said. “It’s about believing in what you are doing.

“So many people have come in to train with me at the sessions I’ve put on and it’s great to know that they love what I’ve done.

“Sutton became a joke in the end. They said they had to get rid of me because of budget cuts because they got beaten in the FA Cup and then the manager brought in his mate.

“But now to get the chance with Ghana is unreal. I know what the international set-up is like after playing for Jamaica and I can’t wait to get started.”

Ghana kick off their Cup of Nations campaign on January 19 against Senegal in Mongomo. It is Lawrence’s role to have them perfectly primed – and motivated – in the mean time.

“There’s a lot of sitting around so you have to keep the players focused. I’ll be in charge of all the fitness stuff as well as the food and nutrition.

“Some won’t have played for a few weeks because of the winter break so you’ve got to get them in the right condition.”

Grant announced a 31-man provisional list this week, leaving out Kevin-Prince Boating and Sulley Muntari after both were kicked out in the World Cup because of disciplinary issues. Michael Essien is also not involved.

Former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyann is the biggest name in a squad that will be built around younger players.

Lawrence said: “There aren’t so many big hitters. It will be a younger bunch who will be keen to impress because they’ve not been there and done it before.

“You’ve got players like Christian Atsu, the winger from Chelsea who’s on loan at Everton – although he’s not played a lot. I’ve spoken to him already.”

Word has already got round about Lawrence’s promotion. He has received three other coaching offers since, including one from a League Two club.

But his eyes are on a grander stage with the Black Stars. The Valley Parade faithful have their own adopted international team for the next few weeks.