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Ghana's 2014 shambolic World Cup post-mortem

Ghana fans

Ghana fans

By Prince Narkortu Teye

Ghanaian writer Prince Narkortu Teye looks back at Ghana’s shambles at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The Breakdown
An impressive 2-2 draw with eventual winners Germany in what was touted one of the best games of the tournament had seemingly shot Ghana high up the favourites list for a round of 16 spot, after a 2-1 loss to the USA in their opener.

And Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were to be the patsies. However, a lacklustre showing twinned with a series of camp agitations at the Estadio Nacional meant the Black Stars would be heading home at the group stages for the first time, following a 2-1 reverse.

Reasons to be fearful
Ghana’s major problem for the past couple of years has been technically related. Even before his appointment, Kwesi Appiah had been widely criticised for lacking the necessary skills to manage the many high profile players he was to have at his behest.

If there had been one ugly truth about the Ghanaian players, it had to be that many of them have little or no regard for indigenous coaches and developments over the past few months only buttresses the fact. Andre Ayew was the first to strike, only to be mimicked by Milan’s Sulley Muntari; both showing unsporting behaviour following substitutions during the qualifying matches.

And at the World Cup, the unfortunate bad behaviour was to rear its ugly head again; Kevin-Prince Boateng, this time, the unfortunate culprit in a series of spats that would eventually lead to his suspension from camp on the day of the match against Portugal.

Muntari, rather notoriously, made the headlines once again for assaulting a team official leading to his untimely suspension from camp. Adding the aforementioned to Michael Essien’s refusal to warm up during the Portugal game and the well-dcoumented bonus woes only underlines the lawless jungle the Blacks Stars camp had become.

Reasons to be cheerful
If there was any positive from the 2014 debacle, it had to do with the magnificent 2-2 draw with the Germans who would later go on to become world champions. It showed, that on a very good day, Ghana is capable of rubbing shoulders with the very best.

Germany, notoriously ruthless, failed on only one single occasion to pick up full points en route to their triumph and the Black Stars, the only team to have scored twice against Die Mannschaft, are the reason behind this. First round elimination made nonsense of that feat but the positive – that Ghana have come of age – should certainly prove useful in future endeavours.

With the likes of Christian Atsu, Andrew Ayew, Majeed Waris and Kwadwo Asamoah set to be nearing their peak by the next World Cup in Russia, quality personnel should not be one of Ghana’s problems come 2018.

Lessons learned
For a country widely known for its peace and harmony, utmost anarchy in a little over two weeks in Brazil proved an alarming paradox. That had everything to do with delays in payment of player appearance fees coupled with shambolic arrangements.

Since the tournament ended players such as Boateng and goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey have publicly lamented the lax manner with which things were run by the FA. Loss of focus, missed training sessions and suspensions were the side effects of an ugly fall-out from these poor arrangements.

After two earlier, more successful appearances at the World Cup, an air of complacency seemed to have cropped in but after the latest rude awakenings, sorting out player financial packages coupled with explicit, organised arrangements is one virtue the FA would (hopefully) gladly befriend.

Lessons not learned
For two consecutive tournaments, Ghana has had to play their most creative player at a rather unconventional position at left-back. Kwadwo Asamoah’s showing in Brazil, rather agreeably, was a solid improvement upon his shaky outing at the 2013 African Cup of Nations. His latest performance was impressive but the stark reverberation on the team’s total output left much to be desired.

Breaking up defences with exquisite splitting passes and individual dribbles have become one uncommon ingenuity in the current set up. The likes of Atsu and Andre have both struggled to plug into that role and Boateng’s latest dull outings coupled with his suspension only compounds issues. The onus had, over the years, fallen on Muntari to orchestrate from deep but try as he may, consistency is one accolade he would be really lucky to be acclaimed with.

Even at left-back, Asamoah’s artistry anytime he moved up field became a rare benevolence, finding Asamoah Gyan on one such occasion for Ghana’s only consolation against Portugal. With the latest setback, it may be about time Ghana brought back Asamoah into a position in which he can flourish.

Is the manager safe?
After being rewarded with an unpopular two-year contract extension encompassing a whopping 83% increase on his previous deal despit early elimination from the World Cup, who wouldn’t feel secured?

Much to the dismay of many, Kwesi Appiah, together with the FA, has successfully shifted the blame for Ghana’s woeful performance onto the sports ministry for failing in their financial duties which led to the uproar in camp. However, Appiah may apparently be sitting on a time bomb as nothing short of gold at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) would save his blushes.

What next?
Without any doubt, the next AFCON sits highest on Ghana’s wish list. With many back home still brooding over the performance in Brazil, nothing but a fifth continental title after 32 years would bring back smiles.

The most arduous task would be to lift the now battered spirit, build a new winning mentality without Muntari, Essien and Boateng and foster a new team chemistry with only six months to Morocco. If that could be done, 2015 may prove the perfect launch pad for Ghana ahead of Russia 2018.

Next big thing
Majeed Waris, Jordan Ayew among others, have all come onto the fray but it’s Chelsea’s Christian Atsu who wields the magic stroke. After a stylish entry into Ghana football when he bent in a sweet curler for Ghana’s fourth on his debut in a 7-0 win over Lesotho in 2012, Atsu has since endeared himself into the hearts of many as the new Abedi Pele.

He did struggle in his first major international tournament at the 2013 AFCON but his Player of the Season feat on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in the Dutch league apparently stirred an air of newfound belief ahead of the World Cup. Atsu’s performances in Brazil, however, provoked mixed feelings. Still, his status as Ghana’s future star remains uncontested.

Ghana-XI-formation-2015-tactics

Agree? Disagree with our future Ghana lineup? Let us know in the box below. 

READERS COMMENTS

  1. Alexander says:

    You know Adam Kwarasey will never come back with the current coach and his crop of technical men. So forget him. Muntari needs to be in the team so must Essien and Kevin. The technical bench needs to be dismantled and new ideas brought in. The problem is mostly player support and motivation. The methods they currently deploy now is mainly to “force” and “frighten” players to play. Doesn’t work. I wish you would analyse the technical bench instead of the playing body.

  2. Nana Kwaku Agyemang says:

    I would have liked you to have also named your substitutes. I don’t think you can name your first XI without doing that if you are to be taken seriously. The bench of any team is verbs significant as it adds to the overall strength of the team.

    Can you please do this so that I can see that we are on the same page?

    On the face of this nothing wrong at all, its the way to go but I need to see your bench

  3. Anokwale says:

    I think Dauda is going to be in goal whether we like it or not.
    Rabiu and Agyemang Badu are going to battle for a spot.
    Afful and Opare will fight for the right back.
    Otherwise the line up is pretty much accurate. My hope is that Gyan will be able to psychologically shake off the death of Castro and will keep his head in the game.

  4. sticky straw says:

    Ghana need tall , strong, and tactically sound central defenders such as issac Vorsah, jerry akaminko, yaya mohammed, awal mohammed and edward kpodo . Still believe that john boye is a very good player but due to his height he can be use at the right fullback position as the Nigerian coach used efe ambrose who play as central defender in Celtic as right back for the super eagles and he excel in that position during the worldcup.the biggest mistake akwasi appiah did during the naming of his 23 squad was the exclusion of Anthony Annan from the team because we need midfielders who are energetic ,tactically sound and the most importantly midfielder who can read game and as such for the past ten years apart from micheal essien non of the midfielder that was chosen by akwasi appiah can read a game better than what Anthony Annan can do , tactically bankcrupt coach will say sulley muntari but the truth is that muntari’s strength lies below 65 minutes when he get tired that where begins to play rough tackles . If ghana want win something in the near future Anthony Annan, afriyie acquah and kwadjo asamoah should be our midfielders . We would have won the match against Germany if were to subtitute sulley muntari in the second half of the game even my son whom I was watching the game with said to me that (papa muntari ben moe ) in flamish or dutch means papa sulley muntari is tired even my seven years old son could see that muntari was tired but so called technical men on the bench couldn’t see

  5. Rasheed says:

    Appiah is the problem fire him and everything will be solved.

  6. chairmanQB says:

    Prince, your article had some fine moments but you got sentimental at some points.
    Atsu is the new Abedi Pele? Are you kidding me? Did you watch the same World Cup we all watched? Atsu was average, nothing more, nothing less. His decision-making in key moments were amateurish at best. I am not surprised Chelsea FC has loaned him to Vitesse. If you ask me, he needs to learn so much before thinking of the EPL. Andre Ayew scored 2 goals in 3 matches, and you still question whether he can play the #10 role. Fact, Kwadwo Asamoah is more gifted than Andre Ayew but his lack of assertiveness is the reason why he gave up the playmaker role in the Black Stars. The story at Juventus, is a different one. A lot of casual followers of football might not understand why he is being used as a Left wing-back by Conte. That’s because Juventus has Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio and Pirlo in their midfield.

    Mind you, the best tournament Kwadwo Asamoah has had as play maker was at AFCON 2010.Granted,he had a couple of assists and showed promise in that role, everything went downhill from there resulting in his decision to abandon the #10 position.So let’s not act as if, Kwadwo Asamoah was not given the trequartista role in the past.

    And on Kwasi Appiah, this is what i will say: If he wins the AFCON 2015, please look for me to buy you a GOAT.

    p.s: I’m not that difficult to find, when that time comes just google chairmanQB.

    Moral of this Story: Keeping Kwasi Appiah as the Coach means we’ve only postponed the funeral.

  7. Ansong says:

    STEPHEN APPIAH,TONY YEBOAH,ABEDI PELE,OSEI KUFFOUR AND HAS ADU SAPEI SHOULD ATTEND COACHING COURSE TO REPLACE THE UNQUALIFIED KUMASI COACH TO SAVE THE BLACK STARS. wise up.

  8. aa says:

    Before pple start talking about the black stars start up, the coach should be substituted first

  9. papa says:

    baba rahman is the best leftback we have. end of story

  10. ygt says:

    Atsu, Warris and Rabiu did nothing this world cup despite Kwasi Appiah giving them the chance….useless players