Soccer News of Thursday, 5 June 2014
Ace Ghanaian journalist Karl Tuffuor fears Kwesi Appiah’s failure to make unpopular decisions in naming his final 23-man World Cup squad could prove costly, insisting he should have been bold enough to drop either Michael Essien or Sulley Muntari.
The Ghanaian trainer has kept faith with the core of his team who qualified the side to their third successive World Cup in Brazil.
The Africans named World Cup specialists Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari in the squad while other top stars like Andre Ayew, Michael Essien, Kwadwo Asamoah, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare and Jonathan Mensah all made the cut.
The naming of the final 23-man squad has been met with less or no criticism as many seems to have embraced the final list.
However, highly-respected sports journalist, Karl Tuffuor, feels coach Appiah should have had the ‘balls’ to leave out one of the AC Milan duo Michael Essien or Sulley Muntari.
“People predicted the core of these players to make it. But my only beef is that I thought that the 26 that he picked, I would have loved to see a few more local players,” he told Accra-based Power FM.
“Of this particular squad that he has named, I was going to look for some balance and regardless of the consequences, I would have named Schlupp. Reason being that I’ve only seen him at Leicester City and even that he was not playing frequently. But if you have a person like Harrison Afful who can equally play on the left and right, you could have found a place for him.
“Akaminko’s injury is so unfortunate. If Kwesi had taken his full provisional squad of 30 players, he could probably pick Nuru Sulley or I dare say Abeiku Ainooson who can also equally play on the right and in the centre.
“So you have cover for all positions. So this whole business of having just six defenders is a bit of a worry.
“I am going to be very controversial. I would have taken either Sulley Muntari or Michael Essien and not both regardless of the experience that they have. “He should have been bold to drop either Essien or Muntari.”
Essien, who has established himself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world has looked a pale shadow of his former self, leading to his exit from Chelsea.
Many expected him to rediscover his form at AC Milan but the 31-year-old is yet to find the spark that made his friends nicknamed him the Bison for his tough tackling and high energy work rate.
The Ghanaian international looked tentative, and arguably afraid to get hurt during the international friendly against the Netherlands despite putting up a decent display.
Muntari did not play a part during the friendly against the Dutch side but showed his immense experience during a low profile friendly against Ghana’s local Dream Team in a similar exercise two weeks ago.