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2014 Word Cup Feature: Open Letter to Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah

By Nii Ayitey Tetteh

Kwesi Appiah

Kwesi Appiah

Dear Kwesi, I bring you greetings from “dumsoric” Accra, a complete departure from the bright sights of Miami. Camping there must be a team member’s delight huh, I bet it is.

You know, there’s a part of me that slightly desires, just a teeny weeny bit, to be in your big shoes, but then the other part screams danger!! Yes, absolute danger!

How else could I describe events of the past week; events that have rocked fan confidence to the core! But Kwesi, like we say down here “I like your matter” and as Ghana prepares for the upcoming friendly versus South Korea at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami on June 9, 1900 GMT, I will like to review the events of the past week and offer you my unsolicited advice.

Kwesi, before we get to the Koreans, let’s look back (Nkrumah isn’t always right you know) and pick out the pitfalls from the Netherlands friendly and use that as a base to strategize for the big assignment at hand.

Kwesi, wherever you are in Miami; be it on the training ground or just taking a hike along Ocean Drive, kindly pause for a minute and hear me out, it might do you a whole Florida of good. Now, what’s that high sounding line again? Oh Yes! Let’s cut to the chase!

The Holland “Joke-ly”

Well, well, well…so what? It’s a play on the words joke and friendly but l am sure you get my drift; joke sums up the friendly international versus the Netherlands, especially from a Ghanaian perspective.

Kwesi, do you know that last Saturday, I witnessed Ghanaian football passion assume another dimension. I completely under estimated the interest average football fans had in the game.

I was inundated with calls and messages enquiring about kick off time. But even that didn’t prepare me for the queries during and after the game. Kwesi, the people of Ghana were livid and continue to ask questions.

Why did you start with what was in essence, an experimental side? I have heard the wild theory that you didn’t want spies to spy on your “A” team. Well, I think that is hogwash, complete balderdash, and I will not even entertain the thought. But Kwesi, with all respect ooo, “s3bi taflats3” wouldn’t it have been wiser to start with the “A” team; build chemistry and momentum ahead of the World Cup proper, considering that the Black Stars aren’t the most cohesive of teams these days?

I mean really, Kwesi, even teams with bigger pedigree found the need to field their big boys and tie their teams’ loose ends in their friendly matches. The same Netherlands we played, fielded their starting 11, Brazil have done so, Germany and France too, but no, not that country south of the Sahara… hmm!

We haven’t particularly seen the Black Stars play to a set pattern in recent times; this was a big opportunity to start our big boys and then fade them out in the second half with the fringe players who by the time they would have been introduced, would not have had the jitters and be reckless like Rashid Sumaila and co did.

Kwesi, I know you have always suffered from the perception that you do not have a handle on the team, well, I think that’s unfortunate, but events during and after the friendly didn’t help matters.

We all saw the laxity on the bench; captain on the day, Michael Essien’s back was nonchalantly turned towards the field while he engaged in idle chatter.

Then we also saw players hesitate to warm up when Akaminko was to be replaced. Then there was the chopping of 3 players from the 26 man squad after the game; David Accam, Jeffrey Schlupp and injured Akaminko.

Their dropping seemed convenient and populist because really and truly, you should have called Kwabena Adusei from the standby list as a like for like replacement for Akaminko, unless Adusei’s position as standby was just cosmetic.

As for Schlupp, it was understandable because he didn’t look the part, but it also raised concerns since his cut meant you were now going with only 6 defenders than the standard 8 to the World Cup; it seemed cutting Schlupp and Accam, who you didn’t even offer 10 minutes “p3” to prove himself, would have raised little trouble, so you went with that easy route thus making the team mid heavy and lopsided with 11 midfielders (yes I am counting Kevin Prince Boateng as a midfielder, he’s no striker).

Hmm Kwesi, you know you are one of us, we would want to support you, but some of the decisions you took; before, during and after the Netherlands game “dier”, “ebi some way bi”. At this point, Nkrumah’s voice grows louder in my big head, so maybe we should just look forward to the South Korean game. Shall we?

Pacific friendly

Well Kwesi, we can now put behind Netherlands and look forward to South Korea. Going into this friendly on Monday, June 9, I think I speak for many Ghanaians when I ask for some form of pacification.

If you don’t start with the “A” team or give us a semblance of the starting line-up…. Ok, that’s sounding like a threat, none of such intentions though, but against South Korea, we would expect that you learnt from your mistakes in the Netherlands friendly and field the starting 11 especially the central defense pairing, I have repeated on different platforms that we need Michael Essien at the back for his leadership and organization; so pair him with John Boye or Jonathan Mensah; start Daniel Opare at right back and Harrison Afful at left back; we would expect that you would pair Afriyie Acquah and Kwadwo Asamoah in the heart of midfield with Andre Ayew on the left and try Abdul Majeed Waris, who is quite pacy, on the right wing with Asamoah Gyan to lead the line and Kevin Prince Boateng in the hole; we would expect to see some pattern, be it defensive play, counter attack, wing play; whatever play, we desire to see some identity against the Koreans and oh, with Adam Kwarasey carrying an injury, kindly share the goalkeeping duties between Fatau Dauda and Steven Adams in the 2 halves. We do not ask for much do we? Times are hard and most Ghanaians are looking for an escape through football. Our demands are fairly reasonable, satisfy us and we would rally behind you regardless of the score-line, but try another experiment and your “sins” will continue to rise like the Cedi to the Dollar!!!

niiayitey29@gmail.com        Follow on Twitter @niithesoccerguy

Source: 90 Minutes Newspaper

READERS COMMENTS

  1. Nimo says:

    Awesome article! It’s obvious Appiah is confused and everybody knows. he should just go of his favouritism habits and everything else will run smoothly. The writer of this article’s starting 11 is just the best I have personally sided with so far.

  2. Kojo says:

    “your sins will continue to rise like the Cedi to the Dollar”. Great article, however, I think we shouldn’t risk our big guns for this last friendly match – fear of another injury… We saw what happened to Jerry. The team has played together for at least five years, and some even ten years, so the chemistry is already there. Keep Gyan for the opening game against the US, and feature Waris in attack instead. What do you guys think?

  3. 7seven says:

    Brilliant peace of article.

  4. David says:

    i think we have the players at hand but strategising on the field is the problem of Appiah, and he must change his trends ooo. we dey beg.

  5. KG says:

    Hey Kojo, I like your suggestion that we keep Gyan for the big opener against USA. He (Gyan) is our most reliable striker, and we just can’t risk him. Other than the younger players, the team has been playing together for approximately 10 yrs. The chemistry is present, and the coach should have identified his starting 11 by now. Another thing I saw in the above article is that, Essien is placed in defence. I disagreed with that. I think he is most effective in midfield… His passes are accurate and would help the attack. We have alot of options to replace him when he is out of energy. Go Black Stars!!!

  6. CNN says:

    Brilliant and humorous article. It made me laugh but every bit of it is so true. Akwesi, please I beg, bury any pride and pay hid to Nii Ayitey’s plea. We (GH) will not forgive you if your experiment fails to yield the drsired results.
    If I were u I will always start with my best players on hand and best formation that gave us 6 goals against one of the best in Africa. If it doesn’t work, no one can blame you. We really want you to succeed and we’ll surely pray for all of u. May God bless GH.

  7. real sabacious says:

    Great article but I doubt if this clueless coach will see the wisdom in doing so. I have preaching on this forum regarding my concerns on Afful, it will be a disaster to play Afful on defence. He defending has been always a suspect and his body frame is my major concern. Afful will be bullied by the likes of Altidore, Kloss, Nani, Ronaldo Varela and the likes. No wonder his coach at club level have figured out and he has been pushed as right winger. I prefer to see wakaso on the left full back. He wakaso is a natural left footer and started his career as a left back. He’s strong, good going forward and tracking back and cannot be bullied.He just need to be told to time his tackles.

    • Johnny says:

      And please don’t let Inkoom anywhere near the field of play. The guy just runs forward, leaving a huge gap at the back, and then gives the ball away with his very poor crosses. This was forcing Smaila to cover for him, and we all know what happens when Rashid chase a counter-attacking player with the ball (remember Mohamed Sala of Egypt). No Jordan, no Adomah!

      If Essien can really play at the back, this selection looks good. Gyan-Warris pairing must be kept intact.

  8. papa nkrumah says:

    Great article Nii. Very light and humorous in tone but the message is not light at all. Clearly, we can’t do anything if the coach messes up. Even firing him will not worry the coach in any way. We can only hope that the coach will use his main guys so we can build some team cohesion and pattern which we have lacked lately. I think I agree with the writer’s proposed lineup. Let’s win to give our men the needed confidence going forward

  9. samva says:

    good article but i will play rabiu instead of Afriyie Acquah

  10. Benito says:

    This is awesome,I couldn’t agree with you more,the coach must start his first 11,otherwise…hmmmn,USA terrified me with their play against Nigeria.they play as a team,there so much chemistry in the team,and this is what we asking the coach to do,our core team must play most of the trial matches.if the USA beat us they truly deserve it because they have really worked hard,playing a lot of matches.if Kwesi appiah thinks the USA will be a push over then he must think twice.enough of his experiments,it’s too late for that.don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  11. Theo says:

    This people should leave Dr Akwesi Appiah to have peace of mind to do his job given to him by GFA but not any individuals.Ghanaians like interfering to much.

  12. Bani man says:

    o boy lots of joy reading the article. AA is just dick

  13. EA1us says:

    I like all the retorts above, great! Nice article as well, I can’t mention any names for the starting XI that’s AA’s job….but please play your starting XI. Whatever happens we’ll live with it.

  14. MYT says:

    Good article but you should not prescribe a starting eleven for the coach. I am sorry but you asked too much there. You should have just stuck to the flow and pattern you were earlier talking about.

  15. bstarfan says:

    I’m not concerned with how Kwesi handled the Dutch friendly. There is no tried and true blueprint for how to handle these games. Some teams load up the games to make money. Mexico suited up and started a 41-year old in a retirement game a week or so ago. Others just want their guys to run in hot and humid weather. If the friendlies are any indication, England might be the worst team in Brazil. They have looked slow and utterly mediocre, but everyone knows that these games don’t mean much once the tournament starts. If nothing else, it seems as though Kwesi will have given all the outfield players a chance to get time. Its good for the young guys to get out there and not only showcase themselves for time against the US, Germany, and Portugal, but also for future club seasons. Rashid Sumaila may very well have played himself into a European contract, and that is both good for him and the team. We all know what Gyan, Muntari, Kwadwo, Dede, Essien and KPB can do, but it was good to see Waris, Atsu, Adomah, Rabiu, Acquah, and Jordan even if some struggled a bit. My guess is that Kwesi will start something close to a normal starting XI tomorrow: Dauda, Opare, Jonathan, Boye, Asamoah, Essien, Badu, Muntari, KPB, Dede, and Gyan with Wakaso certainly getting some time in as well.

  16. SHAOLIN says:

    Satiric and entertaining piece but it has some wisdom.AA’s job is quite simple,it really is.Just play the best players at their best current positions,example,Essien has lost some pace and loses 50-50 balls lately but still possesses his excellent passing skills so I wouldn’t play him as a central defender or holding midfielder but as an attacking midfielder where he can provide service for our forwards.He can also track back to help the midfield defensively.

    Also its highly likely the US will use the same line up yesterday or a slight variation of it so lets hope AA is taking notes.Klinnsman played 3 defensive midfielders yesterday,clogged the midfield then counter at the right moment.So it would behoove the clueless AA to come up with the best selection to counter that strategy.We don’t want to see clueless players like Adomah and AFRIYIE on the pitch on 6/16

  17. Assemblyman says:

    A great piece of note there..this is common sense mix with humor ..Akwasi Appiah! Smh,concert party man

  18. Bumbong says:

    Agree with u Mr writer but will pair muntari and kwodjo Asamuah in the midfield

  19. Adebayo says:

    I have calmly watched the video of the match against the Netherlands again. My impression has deepened that many of the players didn’t know their roles. At the beginning of the second half, many players are giving instructions to their colleagues and this continued for some time. From Acquah to KVP to Jordan, each seems to communicate that the team is not carrying out the plan or wasn’t there a plan? I hope tomorrows friendly tells me something different!

  20. USA says:

    A good piece of artticle…. hope he will listen

  21. PRINCO says:

    Good piece man….The need for AA to put his best foot forward cannot be over emphasised….The least talented of Teams thrive on chemistry….(Athletico Madrid and Greece in Euro 2004).U could have the most talented of players but without that clic-nothing will wrk to fruition….This justifies the cry of we the millions of football fanatics dwn in Gh.
    Play ouR BEST!!!!!!!!

  22. Epison hyphen says:

    John mahama is going to win 3:1 against obama