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2014 World Cup Team Preview: Ghana

Black Stars primed to excel once more again at the World Cup

Black Stars primed to excel once more again at the World Cup

By Richard Farley

Getting to know… Ghana

The Black Stars, four-time continental champions, are one of the most successful teams in African history, with their quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 World Cup matching an the continent’s best finish in FIFA’s quadrennial showcase.

Had it not been for a dramatic Luis Suárez hand ball and a penalty miss from Asamoah Gyan, the team would have gotten one step farther, yet in the United States, the nation of Abedi Pele, Samuel Kuffour, Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien is known for only one thing: Knocking the U.S. out of the last two World Cups.

Since their last win over the States in 2010, Ghana has been relatively humbled, finishing fourth at the last two African Cup of Nations tournaments.

In World Cup qualifying, however, the Black Stars reasserted their place in Africa’s pecking order. The West African nation will be appearing at its third straight World Cup.

Ghana cut Egypt to pieces in the ultimate qualifier

Ghana cut Egypt to pieces in the ultimate qualifier

Record in qualifying

Drawn into a qualifying group with Zambia, Lesotho, and Sudan, Ghana lost only one of six games, putting up a +15 goal difference en route to Africa’s playoff round. Drawn against Egypt, Ghana delivered another blow to head coach Bob Bradley, using a 6-1 win in leg one to cruise past the Pharaohs, 7-3 over two legs.

What group are they in? 

From the Ghanaians’ point of view, the Group G’s only reprieve is the United States – a team Ghana’s proven it can beat. Against Germany and Portugal, however, the Black Stars will be heavy underdogs, even if theSeleccao presents a chance to qualify for another knockout round.

Game schedule:

16 June, 18:00, Natal – Ghana vs. United States

22 June, 16:00, Fortaleza – Germany vs. Ghana

26 June, 12:00, Brasilia – Portugal vs. Ghana

Star player: Asamoah Gyan

Ghana will depend on Asamoah Gyan for goals in Brazil

Ghana will depend on Asamoah Gyan for goals in Brazil

Ghana has no shortage of name talents, from Milan’s Essien and Sulley Muntari to fellow midfielders André Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and Kevin Prince-Boateng.

The most consistent presence of the team’s name talents, however, is former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan.

Most famous for missing the 2010 penalty kick that would have put Ghana into the final four, the 28-year-old 39 goals in 78 international appearances makes him the one proven scoring threat in Appiah’s starting lineup.

Skilled, pacey, and intelligent, the Ghanaian captain has scored 100 goals for United Arab Emirates club Al Ain since moving to the Middle East three years ago.

For his national team, the long-time lone striker is now being helped up top by Spartak Moscow’s Majeed Waris, whose speed may open up space for his veteran partner.

Manager: Kwesi Appiah

An assistant in 2012 and former coach of Ghana’s U-23 team, the former Black Stars defender took over as head coach in April 2012.

Choosing freedom for his players over tactical nuance, the 53-year-old has implemented a basic 4-4-2 to leverage the virtues of his talented core.

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah

If Appiah doesn’t revert to a five-man midfield (as he did in a recent friendly against the Netherlands), players like Asamoah, Boateng and Christian Atsu will be given the room to pursuit their opportunities, something that will hopefully present goals for Gyan.

Secret weapon: Mohammed Rabiu

Asamoah, Ayew, Boateng, Essien, and Muntari may not be assured starting spots, but Rabiu, a 24-year-old who plays in Russia with Kuban Krasnodar, looks set to be Appiah’s destroyer.

A member of the Ghana team that won the 2009 U-20 World Cup, Rabiu’s energy in front of the defense will be important in protecting the weakest part of the Black Stars’ team.

Tall, lanky, and with only 16 games of international experience, the former Evian midfielder will anchor whatever midfield Appiah decides to build around him.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. OHENENANA says:

    Attack:
    Gyan and Boateng with Waris as supersub to bring speed and open up space upfront for Gyan to score when comes in later in the game he can use all his energy to give us goals
    Midfield:
    2 midfield partnerships Essien/Rabiu and Acquah/Muntari a mix of leadership/speed and expirience/youth and Badu as supersub for some extra pace
    Right Side:
    Ayew on the Right Midfield to go forward and attack and Opare on Right Back to stay back and guard the right side of defence Atsu can come as supersub at Right Midfield Adomah and Inkoom should just stay on the bench and come in when its a real emergency
    Left Side:
    Asamoah on the Left Midfield and Afful on the Left Back both are fast players and can both attack and whip in crosses and also defend when needed they can help each other in attack and defence Wakaso can come in as supersub on both positions and do something
    Defenders:
    Jonathan and Boye both good in the air and strong in defence without making unesesery tackles and giving away penalties like Sumaila and Akaminko do Sumaila should come in when needed
    Keeper:
    No doubt Kwarasey he showed what he could do against players like Van Persie and Robben Adams is a good back up and a penalty killer Dauda should just help them get ready for games during training

  2. AfrikaBoy says:

    For some of us who like to compare the Ghana teams of 2010 vs 2014, here are some interesting facts. This year Ghana has the youngest team on average at the competition with 25.9 Yrs. But, look at the 2010 vs 2014 team.

    Average age:
    2010: 24.1
    2014: 25.9

    Players below 23:
    2010: 9
    2014: 5

    Below 24:
    2010: 11
    2014: 9

    Below 21 (20yrs or younger)
    2010: 5
    2014: 0

    Above 27:
    2010: 5
    2014: 3

    Above 30:
    2010: 2
    2014: 1

    Compare our starting line up in the 1st game against Serbia (Same line up against Germany except for Jonathan Mensah (19) replacing Vorsah (21):

    2010:
    Kingston: 31
    Paintsil: 28
    Vorsah: 21
    Mensah: 27
    Sarpei: 33
    Annan: 23
    KPB: 23
    Taggoe: 23
    K Asa: 21
    Dede Ayew: 20
    Gyan: 24

    Now imagine this potential line in 2014:
    Kwarasey: 26
    Boye; 27
    Mensah: 23
    Opare: 23
    K ASA: 25
    Essien: 31
    Muntari: 29
    Atsu: 22
    KPB: 27
    Ayew: 24
    Gyan: 28

    As you can see this line up is much older (but in their prime) than the one in 2010. More mature and experienced.

    Have your say:

  3. Richie says:

    heheheheh….Sarpei 4yrs ago is still older than Essien 4yrs later. asem oo

  4. Emma says:

    The beauty of the 2014 world cup for Ghana and the predictor’s prediction is that Germany or Portugal will loose its first game while Ghana wins its first. So all that Ghana will have to do is to draw or win the remaining two matches and that’s it- Second round for Ghana.
    Make your own predictions.

  5. iyke coach says:

    ————————————————-gyan

    dede ayew————————kevin—————————–waris

    ———————————acquah————-asamoah

    afful—————————-john—————-mensah———————–opare

  6. iyke coach says:

    WINNING SQUAD GO BLACKSTARS GOOOOOO

  7. iyke coach says:

    KEVIN GYAN AND WARIS ARE ALL GOIN TO START FOR GHANA. THE COACH IS GOING TO START WITH THE SECOND HALF TEAM AGAINST THE NETHERLANDS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ADOMAH IN MIDFIELD

  8. African Consciousness says:

    The Coach must know the personality of his players. Against a buga buga team like the US especially in their back line we need strikers that are tough and would not fold or crumble under pressure. I saw the US Turkey game. They will be physical and border line dirty so we have to send our tough guys up top. Say KPB and Gyan. The Egyptians were mad at Waris for taking out their goalie in Kumasi and he was a bit rattled needless to say this is a must win game and Jordan should be benched. All the minutes he got against Netherlands he could hardly get off a shot. We have to bring on our cream, the best of the best against the USA so we can secure that win.

    1. Kwarasey
    2. Afful (RF)
    3. K. Asamoah(LF)
    4. Jonathan(CB)
    5. Sumaila(CB)
    6. Rabiu(DM)
    7. Essien(DM)
    8. Dede(RW)
    9. Kevin(HOLDING/ATTACKING MIDFIELDER/STRIKER
    10. Gyan(STRIKER)
    11. Muntari(LW)

    4-2-3-1 FORMATION.

    If Coach opts for the 4-4-2 then Rabiu must sit and Muntari can partner Essien in defensive mid and Waris can partner Gyan up top.