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Sports News of Friday, 11 May 2018

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Ghana must focus on being clinical to conquer the football world

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Ghana are one of the biggest and most loved names in world football, but they are not heading to Russia this summer to take part in the 2018 World Cup. Ghana failed to qualify, falling at the final hurdle in the African section and will have to wait until 2022 for another chance to grace the world stage. Between now and then they will get the chance to redeem themselves in the African Cup of Nations as well as other international games. If there is one thing they need to focus on over that period it is becoming more clinical in front of goal.

With a goalscorer in the team, Ghana would have qualified for the 2018 World Cup. They finished
third out of four teams in their group, despite losing just one of their six qualifying games. However, they drew four games and that is something that simply cannot happen in the future. Two 0-0 draws with Uganda and 1-1 draws against both Congo and Egypt left the Ghanaians with just seven goals scored from six qualification games. Five of those seven goals came in a 5-1 thrashing of Congo too, who struggled and finished bottom of the group.

Asamoah Gyan has long led the nation when it comes to goal scoring but at 32 he will need someone else to take over from him before we reach the next World Cup.

The two players who look most likely to succeed him are 25-year-old Richmond Boakye and 22-year-old Raphael Dwamena. Boakye looks capable of stepping in straight away, with five goals from his opening 10 international games . Dwamena looks to be a longer-term plan for the nation to work on, but he has scored twice early in his international career to show signs that he is capable of playing at the level required.

Egypt are a nation doing things correctly, and they should be who Ghana look up to for inspiration over the coming years. They will be in this year’s World Cup, and that is mainly thanks to the efforts and goals of Mohamed Salah.

He has given Egypt a chance time and time again with important goals in a number of games, and that is exactly what Ghana need. The latest football betting has Egypt 150/1 for the World Cup so they are clearly not fancied to do well, but they are the best-ranked African team and have shown enough to get to the finals.

While a player of Salah’s ability does not come along all the time, Ghana need to see what Egypt have done and try to match it, if they want to be the ones going into a World Cup in 2022.

The failure to qualify for Russia 2018 will have hurt those at the top of Ghanaian football, but now they have the chance to rebuild and come back stronger. With players like Boakye and Dwamena waiting in the wings, they have the talent there - it just needs to be nurtured in the right way for them to move forward and improve like Egypt have done.

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