I am very sure concerns were and remain rife following news Rabiu Mohammed is out of Ghana’s crucial World Cup playoff against Egypt due to an injury simply because his contribution for the Black Stars since he burst onto the scene has been immense.
A lot of us, I believe were looking forward to a Rabiu-Essien partnership in Ghana’s holding midfield in next month’s clash against the Pharaohs following the Chelsea man’s impressive display when he came on as a second half substitute in the win over Zambia.
It is my strong believe that Michael Essien can no longer be relied upon as the sole holding midfielder for the Black Stars – he clearly has lost that burst of energy and legs to do what he has done best over the years because of issues well known to all of us.
He clearly needs a helper, and with Rabiu out, its time coach Akwasi Appiah gets his thinking cap well on to find a suitable replacement.
I was making some considerations on my own as to who best fits the bill as a ‘suitable replacement’ to help Essien [who I believe will start against Egypt] in that very important position.
My instincts first drew me to Mubarak Wakaso simply because he is a strong fighter who will give his all – an attribute of a player who will thrive in that role.
But then his obvious defect of poor tackling and penchant of taking so many cautions in matches put me off especially when playing an Egyptian side who are noted to be very effective with dead ball situations, the last thing you need is for someone to gives away free kicks in dangerous positions.
I therefore cancel out Mubarak Wakaso’s name for that position though I believe he is good enough to get an invite for the game.
I briefly gave Kwadwo Asamoah a thought but we all know he is not that kind of a player – his immense potential going forward cannot be put to such utter waste.
I also gave Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu a look in but we all know he has not been at his usual efficient best for some time now.
The honest truth is that I found no one worthy of playing in that tireless role until my mental wonderings decided to touch base – the Ghana Premier League. And there I struck what I strongly believe to be the golden solution(s).
Two names that popped up for very obvious reasons – Asante Kotoko’s Michael Akuffo and Hearts of Oak’s Moro Abubakar.
I say for obvious reasons because I don’t think anyone will argue of their immense potential and quality which they have been displaying over the seasons in the Ghanaian top flight.
However, pushed to the wall, if I am to make a choice of the two, I will go for Michael Akuffo and for good reasons.
Before I get into the act, I would first like to refresh the memory of readers of some of the very good and efficient finds we have made over the years with regards to this very important position in the Black Stars.
Anthony Annan was given to us out of an unfortunate situation at the 2008 Nations Cup. He took the opportunity given him very well to go on to have an excellent career with the Black Stars.
It however started with a coach reposing confidence in him and yes, he did repay that trust.
A few months down the line, we had one Daniel Adjei (Argentina they call him) who was then with Liberty Professionals also coming in to do a decent job for us in the earlier stages of the 2010 World Cup qualifier.
Rabiu Mohammed himself is a beneficiary of this syndrome at the 2013 Nations Cup where he was a discovery.
He was taken along to the tournament in South Africa as a mere back up plan, and boy did he do the job. He practically took the position originally meant for the likes of Derek Boateng and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and made it his own. He has never looked back since.
Well unfortunately for us again we are presented with a situation where we have to discover someone who has always been right there in our faces through a stroke of bad luck.
Now to narrow in on Akuffo whom we know will give his utmost best as always of a player from the domestic scene given a grand opportunity to impress.
It is not only that, Akuffo is one of very few players around who are not only concerned with breaking up play of the opposition – a very basic requirement of a holding midfielder but then his training as an academy player at Fetteh Feyenoord ensures he breaks up play and is also armed with the ability to make things happen going forward by picking the right passes.
For crying out loud he has been doing this on a regular basis in the Ghanaian top flight and yes, in my books he has earned a call up especially now where it seems we have real issues with the role he plays in the Black Stars.
Unless of course we agree to make the argument that our Premier League is utter rubbish – a line of thought I do not subscribe to.
There is so much quality before us here at home but our over fixation on foreign players have blinded fans, officials and I shudder to say in this instance coaches.
You can choose to call this a shameful campaign to have a player called into the Black Stars but I will always console myself knowing that deep down the hearts of the discerning ones, local players have made a strong case to merit a call.
Let us reward their hardwork by giving them the due call which they have merited much like those ones we bank on because they play in foreign leagues.
As I always say, you are at liberty to disagree with me. In that case, make your thoughts known in the dialogue box below:
By Ameenu Shardow, follow me on Twitter @alooameenu