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Sports News of Monday, 1 July 2019


Kwesi Appiah should introduce Gyan, Ekuban early - JE Sarpong

Veteran coach, J. E Sarpong, has advised James Kwasi Appiah to introduce experienced striker Asamoah Gyan and Caleb Ekuban, early in his game plan to help overcome a resilient Guinea Bissau side in Black Stars’ final group game on Tuesday.

According to Coach Sarpong, the Stars need a good win and these two strikers have already indicated what they bring to the game and introducing them early enough could help Appiah and his Stars to earn the points needed to advance from the group stage.

The Stars have two points from two games having drawn against Benin (2-2) and Cameroun (0-0) and will have to earn the maximum points against the African Cup of Nations (AFCON debutantes to advance either among the top two teams or one of the four best third-placed sides.

The experienced coach, who has handled many local sides in Ghana, said with their first two matches over, the onus lay on the Black Stars technical team “ to change some of their tactical approach and rectify some of the errors committed in the previous games as a way of motivating the players to improve their personal and team performances.”

He was of the view that based on the performance of Gyan after his late introduction into the game against Cameroun, it was important for Akwasi Appiah to introduce him on time in their next match.

“ Gyan has the experience and he proved it a bit when he came on as a substitute against Cameroun. If he had been given more time, his impact would have been felt much more.

Coming from the bench late cannot give any player enough time to contribute effectively to team play unless it is for tactical reasons. I think Kwasi Appiah must introduce him early in the next game, if he intends to use him at all,” he advised.

He said it was equally important for the technical team to introduce Turkey- based Ekuban into the game, saying, “he is a potent striker who can make a mark in the Stars’ quest to strike gold in the 2019 AFCON tournament”.

“This youngster can give Coach Appiah an option as well. He can be a backup for Jordan Ayew, even ahead of Gyan” he explained Coach Sarpong, however, urged his Black Stars counterpart to remain focused on his game plan and refrain from bowing to any external pressure, saying, “bowing to pressure could create chaos.”

“Going forward, he should stay focused and not alter his tactics under pressure. Mistakes would occur, but that is the game of football.

He identified over indulgence in too many passes in the build up of the Stars’ attack and initial selection challenges as some of the setbacks that prevented Ghana from winning the maximum points against Benin and Cameroun in the group matches played so far.

“ Last Saturday’s match against Cameroun was a little improvement over their first match, but they indulged in too many passes that made their opponents sit back and outnumber the attackers, hence the need to introduce elements of surprise counter attacks in our next match so that we can get into our opponents territory very quickly” Coach Sarpong told Graphic Sports after the Black Stars-Cameroun second match.

“Our transition from midfield into attack should be quick and should have numbers to worry our opponents. The build up is at times slow and makes the opposing defence organise in time to thwart our goal build up,” ?Coach Sarpong opined.