By Ameenu Shardow
I am sure we are all happy to see the Black Stars through to the final phase of the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. But games against Zambia and Japan has raised some issues about our team that ought to be addressed with alacrity moving forward.
In my observations, though I am not a qualified coach but just like Dr. K.K Sarpong [ex Asante Kotoko chairman] once said – If you know how to coach, we also know how to watch – I find the Black Stars have serious issues with goalkeeping, central and lateral defence, appreciated in midfield and slighty improved in attack in the recet games played especially in the win over Zambia.
My feature following my observation will be focusing on these thematic areas but also infused with the curious case of Kevin-Prince Boateng. We will get to that in a bit.
As far as I am concerned we currently don’t have a goalkeeper. Fatau Dauda has lost a significant chunk of his sharpness due to his recent club inactivity since joining Orlando Pirates from AshantiGold where he was the undisputed no.1.
Supposed-to-be deputies; Adam Kwarasey and Razak Braimah have not proved they fit the bill either per their recent matches. I am however aware for Dauda and Braimah, one cannot be conclusive in his judgement due to one bad game so I am ready to cut them some slack there but for Kwarasey, I struggle to recall his last good game in post for Ghana.
Good to have Foli Adade drafted in, maybe we should give him and other budding goalkeepers a chance to also prove their worth when the opportunity arise.
I honestly cannot wait for the return of Isaac Vorsah from injury. That shows how bad this department has become in recent matches.
I have watched three of the four Ligue 1 games of Jonathan Mensah this season prior to his arrival to the Ghana camp for the games against Zambia and Japan. I held the view that though I am absolutely thrilled he is back playing regular club football, his form stinks to say the least. It showed on the day against Zambia and had they been a bit more ambitious, they would certainly have caused us much more serious problems than they did.
I don’t doubt the talent of Jona Mensah, it is his current form that leaves me much to be desired. He must improve otherwise there is no point in holding hope for a player we are all waiting to explode as the heir apparent to John Mensah.
John Boye on the other hand also has some improvement to do but not as much like Mensah. Maybe the recent injuries has had a toll on him and also maybe because he’s had to pair with players who are not on top of their game that is why we are having these issues.
But he cannot forever remain under this cover, he must improve.
I hear Jerry Akaminko is playing regularly for his club, but I must admit I have not checked on his form so can’t conclusively say he deserves a return. Just as Jona Mensah has proven, you can be playing regularly but its the form that counts so not too sure about him.
What I am however very sure of is that we desperately need Vorsah back and very healthy. Rashid Sumaila also looks quite good but more is required of him if he is to be the solution.
I will zoom straight onto the point and will say this with absolutely no sugar coat; both Daniel Opare and Samuel Inkoom have shown they cannot be relied upon, period.
While Opare is in good club form, he just cannot replicate it at international level. Inkoom on the other hand has lost everything good about him. He doesn’t play at all at his club and this is very telling on his performance.
He has failed to deliver a single cross while surging forward in his past two games for the Black Stars – something he used to do at will when he was on top of his game.
These two players have been given way to much alternating chances but in the end give back absolutely nothing.
Harrison Afful has been very good but I have no doubt he will be better when pushed to his very natural right-full back position at the expense of the non-performing duo of Daniel Opare and Samuel Inkoom. Then bring in David Nii Addy at left-back since it seems confidence in Richard Kissi-Boateng is low.
We can really smile at what our midfield is becoming – very and highly competitive. However it is clear and yes I was wrong – Michael Essien remains the ‘real deal’ in Ghana’s midfield. He was just bulldozing his way through the very active and busy Zambia midfield oozing confidence and composure – making them look like the real amateurs they are.
Pair him with Rabiu Mohammed in Ghana’s holding midfield and I think we should be good.
Andre Ayew also gets the nod either on the left or the right side of midfield as he has proven to be very effective in both roles and retain Kwadwo Asamoah as the playmaker that he already is. This midfield in my mind beats them all.
Mubarak Wakaso unfortunately drops to the bench alongside Sulley Muntari. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It rather gives us quality in depth and tells you how strong the Black Stars is.
Asamoah Gyan will always be our target man but has now been proven to be much more effective when he is aided in attack. That fellow obviously ought to be Abdul Majeed Waris. His mobility and movements causes a whole lot of problems for the opposition and gives Ghana another scoring outlet since concentration will firmly be on Gyan as proved in the Zambia win.
Since I am no coach, I honestly cannot prefer a formation or tactic to employ with this starting eleven but surely coach Akwasi Appiah can do something with such a selection else I dare say he is not worth the $20,000 I believe he earns on a monthly basis aside the other benefits.
Now to the curious case of the showman. Nice attempt to win some love over with your ‘lap of honour’ thing, surely it got a piece of me. But be told, I saw your demeanour even when you were not training and realized straight away you are just not yet ready to DIE again for Ghana. Yes, you have a great asset we might need but that quality counts for nothing if you are not self motivated to make a name for yourself with Ghana again.
If you are injured and can’t play for Ghana, remain put at Schalke for others who are ready to do so. If not, when boarding the flight to Ghana, know that for us, it means the world to try and die a little for your nation on the field of play as some of your colleagues do.
You may chose to disagree with this feature and therefore have the opportunity to make your views known in the comments box below.