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Afcon 2013; Lacklustre Black Stars and Kwesi Appiah's headache
From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com| Richard Nii Abbey (@Rnaa_DQ)          Published On: January 25, 2013, 10:23 GMT
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Afcon 2013;  Lacklustre Black Stars and Kwesi Appiah's headache

Asamoah Gyan and Coach Kwesi Appiah

Black Stars style of play over the past two or so years looks far from convincing. In fact the ongoing Afcon 2013 has exposed the team as not only lacking the cutting edge in attack but also a midfield supremo or fluidity that can hold its own against any team on this globe.

Indeed, the days when the midfield quartet of Laryea Kingston, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien marshaled the Black Stars midfield would sorely be missed. Of course, during their reign Ghana won no trophy, but they set history by qualifying us to our first ever World Cup in Germany, 2006.

Asamoah Gyan and our striking woes

As for our attacking woes, sad to say, but it has become a cancerous cell on the team. Over the past few years, goal poachers like Joe Fameyeh, Ishmael Addo, Eric Bekoe, Prince Tagoe and to some extent, Emmanuel Clottey have all failed to glitter when they had the opportunity. All these strikers scored goals at will in the local league, but when the notch was taken a little higher, they fumbled. And that has been our story for the past two decades or so.

Now let’s fast forward to Afcon 2013, well, three goals in two games is not that bad one may argue. But our profligacy in front of goal is just overwhelming. Black Stars leading striker, Asamoah Gyan, having made his debut in 2003, can only boast of 30 goals from 65 games. It doesn’t look bad though, but for a career that spans 10 years, it equally looks alarming.

Gyan’s escapade with the Black Stars is best left for another day. On Thursday, the Stars won their first game at the ongoing tourney beating the Malians by a lone goal. Despite the win, their performance was far from convincing. That’s was clearly obvious. It was a cagey performance that casts a further doubt on Kwesi Appiah’s tactical prowess.

The Eagles of Mali didn’t come to the party yesterday. Their performance was not impressive especially playing against a lacklustre Black Stars who were bereft of ideas in all department of the game. You may hate this, but John Mensah’s absence from the set-up is clearly being felt. The partnership of John Boye and Isaac Vorsah is clearly not ripe for consumption now. But at least Vorsah was better off as compared to Jerry Akaminko per his performance in our opener game against DR Congo. Akaminko was all over the place before finally giving away a cheap penalty.

Most Ghanaians generally believe the end justifies the means, so long as the game is won, they are not really concerned about the “how”. This philosophy has cost us the past four African cup of nations. I remember our painful exit from the Egypt 2006 where we needed just a draw to progress to the quarters but we lost to Zimbabwe. Ghana 2008 wasn’t much different, Angola 2010 was a little better, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, 2012 was worse off losing to Zambia in the semis.

The Dede Factor and the Adomah minus

After our cagey win against the Eagles, the Dede Ayew argument has resurfaced again. Ghana’s midfield looked far from convincing. To be fair, I have to single out Agyemang Badu whose performance was above average. He’s the reason the absence of Michael Essien has not been felt in the team since the Angolan Nations Cup, 2010.

Rabiu Mohammed, looked jittery but it was okay for a player making his debut in major senior tournament. If you have not watched Kwadwo Asamoah play for Juventus, you would never know how good a player he is. But watch him play for Ghana and you would see an entirely different player. He definitely does not give his all to the Black Stars, you can’t fault him for that.

Mubarak Wakaso, a former Ghana youth international, has really been a revelation in this tournament. His set pieces are just on point. Nevertheless, his yellow card in Thursday’s game was unnecessary. He should have known better. As a hard tackling midfielder, you avoid early cautions so you don’t endanger your team. Now he is suspended for Ghana’s next game against tricky customers, Niger who demonstrated against DR. Congo they were no pushovers.

Frankly, I am yet to come to terms with the fact that, Albert Adomah, the man who plies his trade in English Championship, is the man who stepped into the shoes of Dede Ayew when the latter was excluded from the team. Adomah, a fine player as he is, is sadly not cut to be in the senior national team. I have watched the young lad play about three matches, and I can’t really see what this lad brings unto the team.

The lad who has been linked to Stoke City, in the English top-flight is not up to the scratch, at least for now. His crosses, are not incisive. His shots lack power. His defensive capabilities are not overly impressive. I am counting on coach Kwesi Appiah to drop him for a much incisive player like Solomon Asante of Berekum Chelsea fame. At least the Chelsea lad can give us more option in attack.
Afcon 2013, Brazil 2014, Kwesi Appiah's Future
Afcon 2013;  Lacklustre Black Stars and Kwesi Appiah's headache

Adomah in action against Mali

Coach Kwesi Appiah, must know that beyond this tournament, we have a World Cup to qualify for. This current squad lacks so many things if we are to qualify for the World Cup, not to talk of bettering our performance in South Africa.

If we are to progress beyond the group stages, the coach should have the nerve to substitute Asamoah Gyan when he’s having a bad day. After all, DR Congo’s talisman, Tresor Mputu was withdrawn against the Nigeriens when he appeared to be struggling.

The Nigeriens, knowing it is only a win that can guarantee them qualification would come hard at us. I hope the ghost of Burkina Faso 98, and Egypt, 2006 would not haunt us. Kwesi Appiah, this is your time to prove your skeptics wrong. Trust me if you fail to bring the trophy, I am afraid you will be axed!

Contact the Author on richard.abbey@myjoyonline.com

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