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Sports Features of Monday, 8 July 2013

Source: Kwame Anane

Aboagye’s vision key to Satellites success:

Watching the natural skill and technical brilliance of Ghana’s Clifford Aboagye just brings a smile to one’s face. The Ghana U20 midfielder is probably one of the most gifted players so far in the tournament. His slight physique belies a tremendous football brain and vision which opens up defences at ease. And that’s not all, he adds an end product to his game – he contributed two fantastic assists to Ghana’s dramatic 4-3 win against Chile.

A football agent colleague I was watching the game with just could not contain himself with excitement when he sees the Satellite’s number 10 on the ball. He makes things look simple; his passes and runs always seems to take one or two opposition players out of the game at any given time. He makes the team tick by controlling the attacking pace of the game. This is surely an indication that there will be a lot of buzz around the new maestro but where will all the hype take him? Have we already seen such brilliance from a Ghana youth international in the past? Of course we have. The likes of Awudu Issaka and Daniel Addo readily come to mind. However, with the benefit of hindsight, there should be a sense of expectation that the career of this 18 year old talent will be well nurtured to benefit Ghana at the senior level soon. In the meantime, if he stays fit and focused, there is no doubt he will be one of the key factors in how Ghana fares against France next Wednesday. On a related note, isn’t Sellas Tetteh once again showcasing what a competent youth football development coach he is? His players seem to have absolute confidence in him to succeed even when the chips are down. Surely the experience of winning the trophy in 2009 must be a great psychological booster for himself and the team.

Where was the GFA badge on Goalkeeper Antwi’s shirt?

Goalkeeper Eric Antwi was by far one of Ghana’s best performers on the night against Chile but how disappointing was it to notice that his football shirt did not have the GFA logo on it! Whatever might have caused the problem, it was very unprofessional and a let down for the young keeper who represented the nation so well. The keeper’s jersey is almost always different from that of the main team so the one most important thing that makes it distinctively a Ghana shirt is the GFA logo. Since Ghana’s partnership with Puma in 2005, all the national teams have been well kitted out and so it was very surprising to see such an oversight. Sadly it brought back memories of CAN 2002 in Mali when Goalkeeper Sammy Adjei had to write the name and number at the back of his shirt with a black masking tape! Of course Sammy Kuffour complained and was sent home from tournament. The good news is that, such errors are easily corrected and come Wednesday, Antwi should proudly put his hand on the GFA logo whist singing the Ghana national anthem, before the France match.

Salifu – A Michael Essien Clone?

Seidu Salifu scored the crucial 3-3 equaliser in extra time and his general performance was very solid as well. However one cannot help but notice how much the player’s game is based on Michael Essien. Apart from the fact that he wears the number 8 shirt. His movement, style of passing and tackles bears so much similarity to the Chelsea midfielder. Who can begrudge a young player wanting to emulate a fantastic senior professional? As long as he continues to learn, times his tackles and also tries to bring out the Seidu Salifu in him, Ghana perhaps could be confident of the services of another midfielder power house in the future.

Spare a thought for the Chile!

The total dejection and the body language of the Chilean players when Assifuah’s feeble extra time header outwitted two confused defenders and the goalkeeper highlighted the disappointment football can also bring. Whilst Ghana celebrates, the young South Americans rued how they missed the chance to at least determine their own fate in a penalty shoot out! They were not as technically gifted as the Ghana team but Chile played a very tactical game and took their chances brilliantly. All the three goals they scored were of the highest quality. In fact they played much better than most pre match pundits predicted.

Their two forwards, Angelo Henriquez and Nicolas Castillo probably deserved much more for their industry but do not be surprised if they eventually develop into top quality footballers in a few years to come. As a consolation, Chile leaves the tournaments having beaten Croatia, one of the pre tournament favourites and African champions – Egypt!

Kwame Anane (France) 07/07/13

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