Feature: Ghana's left-back position is grave danger for 2013 AFCON

Feature: Ghana's left-back position is grave danger for 2013 AFCON

Afful the likely first choice for the left-back slot

By Ameenu Shardow

I probably should bow my head down in shame for not raising this issue when given the opportunity to quiz coach Akwasi Appiah on his picks for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

However like the proverbial saying, it is better late than never.

First and foremost I’d like to congratulate coach Appiah and his technical team for largely selecting the right players for the tournament to be hosted early next year in South Africa.

The relative lack of intense criticism of his squad attests to this, only there were and still are some reservations over the exclusion of Jordan Ayew.

But that is to be expected as expectations on player selections vary from one person to the other.

There is however the bigger concern that Akwasi Appiah is considering playing Mubarak Wakaso, Kwadwo Asamoah and Harrison Afful at left-back.

It will be the biggest mistake ever in my humble opinion and any intentions to have this be a reality is better aborted at this early stage in the ultimate interest of the Black Stars.

Looking at the candidates for this position, one certainly wouldn’t have any issues with Richard Kissi-Boateng – that is his natural position so no qualms there whatsoever.

My beef is why we keep insisting on playing Harrison Afful at that position when clearly we are not getting the best out of him.

The fact is he is at least yet to score from the left-back position for the Black Stars but has already done it as, I recall twice for his club Esperance – one crucially being a goal that won them an African title from the opposite flank.

And there is obviously no use in keeping a right-footed player at left-back having to check onto his stronger foot to make a decent cross when time, in this instance precious seconds are of great essence.

Kwadwo Asamoah could be a make-shift left-back at 2013 AFCON

As if it couldn’t get worse, Appiah is pondering playing Kwadwo Asamoah of all people at left back! This is indeed extremely alarming.

Despite his enormous potential that we only exploited to a significant extend at the 2010 Nations Cup, we have since failed to get the best out of the Juventus man.

We have rotated him across our midfield to very minimal effect.

The irony however here is that he does it better when with his club, meaning there is something fundamentally wrong with the set up of the Black Stars.

One would ask why the need to alter our style just to suit one player- answer is Kwadwo Asamoah is not just an ordinary player but one when on song, can get the whole team blazing on all cylinders.

A gist of that was shown in Angola two years ago. Where everything good about the team came through him but since then, his impact on a game has been almost non-existent.

We have much problems with Asamoah in midfield and we now want to compound it by taking him all the way back where his potential will further be limited.

In any case, the 23-year-old lacks the stamina required to do the defending at left-back and again expected to surge upfront occasionally to feed the strikers.

I refer coach Appiah and his technical team to Juventus’ 1-0 loss to AC Milan where an over-burdened Asamoah was very well dealt with by one De Sciglio.

He was shockingly so bad in that game that he failed to send in one descent cross. It was purely not his fault because by the time he finishes tackling, runs about 40-50 yards, the guy’s legs goes numb even before he decides to cross.

And we are looking at playing him at left back?! Akwasi Appiah please come again.

Mubarak Wakaso's tackles are just dreadful

Aside that potential disaster, it gets even worse and more worrying that Appiah is again looking at playing Mubarak Wakaso at left back.

Let’s get this clear, Wakaso’s emergence is a massive blessing especially with the not too healthy status of Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.

But this dude’s tackling is just so off we might just be sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode in South Africa.

He cannot put in a clean tackle to save his life and we want him to make these ‘highly abrasive’ tackles in and around our penalty area at the Nations Cup we want to win?

In the 14 games Wakaso has played so far this season for Espanyol, he has been yellow-carded a staggering 10 times and has been sent off once.

That is some statistic for a player you are pondering of playing in defence.

I honestly doubt if coach Appiah and his team are well furnished with this because I’d bet he wouldn’t have drafted him in as a defender.

Alternatives

I wouldn’t bore coach Appiah with names because I know as he reads this piece (which he often does) all the probables will emerge fresh in his mind.

All I can say is that, rather than saturating his central defensive unit, he should have kept a closer eye on the artificially well-loaded left-back position.

For me, our clear weakness as it stands. It is never too late coach Appiah, I only your reluctance is later proven to be a mark of a genius at the tournament.

Do you think I have a case with this feature or Akwasi Appiah made the right call on his picks for the left-back position?

Would you prefer Kwadwo Asamoah, Harrison Afful and Mubarak Wakaso play in that position as coach Appiah desires?

Make yourself heard in the dialogue box below…

READERS COMMENTS

  1. anokwale says:

    Actually, Kwadwo Asamoah at left back may not be a bad idea. Let us face it, he is a talented player but he just is not someone who is going to score. He might actually be a blessing coming up the left side and overlapping and creating some crosses. He has been made an attacking midfielder for the Black Stars and it has not worked. Why not try him elsewhere?

  2. Pillar says:

    Mr. Writer, please you got it all wrong, among the left back players invited by Kwasi Appiah, Mubark Wakaso stands tall. I advise you to go and watch his clips again and stop wasting our time, eyes and ears.

  3. kwame pito says:

    I also wonder why right footed Afful is always played at Leftback in the blackstars. That is terrible when we have leftfooted players.
    About Wakaso playing Leftback, I see no problem with that.
    Afful should start ahead of pantsil at rightback.

  4. kwame pito says:

    I want to see MUBARAK WAKASO on the pitch as a starter. either Leftback or Left midfield. The guy is a starter, He is an Energizer Battery! I dont want to see him on the bench in any of our matches. Him and Andre must play full games. Those two players currently will carry the team. watch this space.

  5. JOSH says:

    Mr writer, what the fuck are you talking about? Ah!? You think AA is such kid to joke with his job? you are a Journalist so you do not have a Technical eye about soccer. The contingents invited are capable of playing at leftback. Dont create in confusion in the mind of the Coach.

  6. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    aa, u see. this is why u should have called an experienced natural left back. the only NATURAL LEFT BACK YOU HAVE CALLED HERE IS KISSI BOATENG, BUT IS HE EXPERIENCED? NO!
    U BETTER DROP PAINSTIL N CALL DAVID ADDY ASAP OTHERWISE U WILL PAY DEARLY FOR THIS FOOLISHNESS AT AFCON
    LOOK, WAKASO IS A COMBATIVE MIDFIELDER. HE IS BEST AS A LEFT WINGER, BUT AA WANTS TO PLAY HIM AS A LEFT BACK. LOOK, IT WILL SPELL DISASTER. WAKASSO, ALTHOUGH VERY GOOD IS VERY COMBATIVE. DONT U THINK HE IS PRONE TO COMMITTING FOULS BACK THERE?
    KWADWO ASAMOAH IS NOT A NATIRALLEFT BACK. HE HAS BEEN FORCED TO PLAY THE POSITION BCOS HE NEEDS TO DO THAT IN ORDER TO PLAY ON JUVE. HE IS MORE USEFUL AS AN ATTACKING MIDFIELDER, THAN A LEFT BACK. SO DAT LEAVE SKISSI BOATENG…WAT EXPERIENCE DOES HE HAVE? THIS IS HIS FIRST AFCON, U KNOW….

    LET ME GET TO AFFUL…AFFUL HAS SHOWN HIS BEST AS A RIGHT BACK FOR ESPERANCE. HE HAS MANAGED TO PLAY SO WELL AS A RIGHT BACK FOR ESPERANCE, HE IS THE GO TO GUY FOR THAT POSITION OVER AT HIS CLUB. THE CLUB THAT PAYS HIM MONEY USES HIM ON THE RIGHT. DO U THINK BRASIL WILL USE MAICON ON THE LEFT, LIKE EVER? HELL NO. IF YOU WANT THE BEST FROM AFFUL, PLAY HIM ON THE RIGHT, AND STOP THE FOOLISHNESS. U DID THESAME THING WILL INKOOM PLAYING HIM AN THE RIGHT WING AND HOW DID HE PERFORM? WOEFULLY…U PLAYED TAGOE AS A WINGER AND WAT HAPPND? WOEFUL…U PLAYED OPARE, A RIGHT BACK, AS A LEFT BACK AGAINST BRASIL AND WAT HAPPENED? RED CARD..AA, LEARN FROM THESE STUPID MISTAKES AND STOP MAKING THE SAM MISTAKES OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    AKAMINKO N AFFUL N PLAY THE RIGHT. ADDY N KISSI CAN PLAY TE LEFT. USE WAKASSO AS A MIDFIELDER OR AS ALEFT WINGER. DROP PAINSTIL N DEREK BOATENG N BE FREE.

    • Gimmy says:

      I wonder why ghanaians think kwadwo asamoah plays as left back I juventus. The juventus team plays the 3-5-2 formation which means in football terms he has to be defensive although he is a medfielder. So Ghanaian should stop saying he is a left back he is not, he is a left midfielder in juve.
      AA left David addy and this guy is playing very good in Portugal I watched him yesterday and I loved him going forward and defensively has improved a lot.
      Ghanaian should stop trying to use players at the main positions. Kiss boateng has to be used becuase he is the natural left back and the coach has to use him period , if he fails then we all know he failed,

      • Gimmy says:

        **Ghanaian coaches should stop playing player out of their position. Kiss boateng has to be used becuase he is the natural left back and the coach has to use him period , if he fails then we all know he failed,

    • Bruce says:

      Mr. Writer, I do not think Akwesi Appiah has any left full back problems. What matters is that whoever is playing at the left flank position should always fall to help the left full back as Ayew did during the 2010 world cup. Let Akwesi Appiah make his own decisions. Kwesi Appiah was right footed player when he was playing for black stars but he was always playing at the left full back.

      • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

        BRUCE, HOW MANY RIGHT FOOTED PLAYERS DO U SEE PLAYING ON THE LEFTSIDE IN THE EURO LEAGUES. MAYBE A SUB, BUT DEF NOT A STARTER. KWADWO ASAMOAH IS A LFTY N PLAYS ON THE LEFT. WHEN HE PLAYS FOR GH,HE PLAYS AS A RIGT ATTACKING MIDFIELDER. WSUP WITH DAT? NO WONDER THE GUY HASNT SCORED MORE THAN 1 GOAL IN OVER 40 APPEARANCES.

        MASSA 82 IS NOT 2013. U SEE WAT MESSI IS DOING? EVEN CLOTTEY…? KISSI IS THE ONLY NATURAL LEFT BACK. IF HE GOES TO AFCON, HE SHOULD START. SO WE CALL SEE WHY AA BROUGHT HIM. NO TEASING BUSIMESS BIAA…

        JONATHAN MENSAH. /PAINSTIL, D BOATENG…SUMAILA

        REASONS
        I HEAR JONATHAN IS HALF INJURED.
        PAINSTIL IS JUST OLD MAN. HE IS IN FORM BUT HE CANT KEEP UP THE SPEED. I WULDNT MIND TRYING HIM ON THE RIGHT WING, STILL
        DEREK BOATENG IS SIMPLY OLD N OUT OF FORM. EVERYONE ELSE PLAYS REGULAR ACTION…BENCH NKOAAA. PLUS HE DISAPPEARS IN BIG GAMES.
        AFCON 2012, GH VS ZAMBIA
        N PLAYS WELL AGAINST YAWA OR MEDIOCRE GAMES.

        KOTOKO NEEDS SUMAILA. IS HE IN THE U20 AS WELL? AA SHOULD LEAVE SUMAILA OUT. KK SARPONG SHOULD GET HIS BOY BACK ASAP….
        COS EVEN IF GETS INJURED OR SMTHING. BIG LOSS FOR KOTOKO

  7. pee says:

    but he call Richard Kissi Boateng.

  8. IFE says:

    Zambia’s Chris Katongo is the 2012 BBC African Footballer of the Year

  9. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    ONE MORE THING ABOUT USING PLAYERS OUT OF POSITION. LEFT FOOTED PLAYERS WHO PLAY ON THE LEFT WING ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN RIGHT FOOTERS WHO PLAY ON THE LEFT WING. WHY U ASK?…

    SEE ONE REASON WHY SARPEI PLAYED SO LONG FOR GH WAS BCOS HE WAS THE BEST AT THE SPOT. IT WAS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SCORE FROM HIS AREA. SO TEAMS WILL THEN SWITCH OVER TO PAINSTIL. THE PRESSURE MADE PAISNTIL BALK, AND THEN…GOAL! NO SHIT….

    IF U PLAY A RIGHT FOOTER ON THE LEFT, THEY BECOME SLOWER THEIR OPPOSING RIGHT FOOTER. THE OPPOSING PLAYER IS ABLE TO SNEAK IN BEHIND THE DEFENDER WITH EASE…AS A DEFENDER, U DONT WANT OPPOSING PLAYER GOING BEHIND YOU, LIKE TAKING THE BACK DOOR. THATS WEAK…

  10. Buddy says:

    With Good gyidance and a better coach…Seth Owusu should be the left back. His structure has Taiwoo writting all over it!!!

  11. Dready says:

    James Akwesi Appiah is a clueless coach.How can he be inviting Derek boateng that useless player.What happened to Afriyie Acquah,Quincy,Nana Asare and Waris?If u don’t do ur job well,ur spot will be given to Maxwell Konadu for real.U think it’s a joke.

  12. Ndola says:

    Its the ‘TSUNAMI’ Christopher Katongo…BBC African footballer of the year.

  13. BOBO says:

    Kissi is useless and should be dropped did u all wattch the club championships? He caused about two goals. U people paa we play 4-5-1 and kissis strength is overlapping and his weakness is defending. we dont need his overlapping and his talent will be a waste. K. Asamoah will do just fine