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Sports Features of Thursday, 7 February 2013

Source: Pobee-Mensah, Tony

Our Black Stars

The Black Stars got our hearts hurting when at the start of the African Cup of Nations they were at best mediocre. They seemed to have redeemed themselves as the games went on and kept us on the edge of our seats. In the end, they broke our hearts. Of course I continue to be proud of our Black Stars. We have a cadre of talented players. I will put our team against any, but we have one flaw and we must talk about it.

The Black Stars play like most African teams. We work the ball and try to create openings. This is not a good strategy if you want to win. European teams and the American team, especially the American team, focus on goal and every effort is aimed at getting the ball within range to take a shot at goal. Their games are about moving the ball quickly. We don't do this. We instead work the ball and try to create openings as I have said. While we do that, we give opposing teams a chance to shore up their defenses. The more they shore up their defense, the harder it gets for us to create an opening, and the time surely does not wait. We should work at breaking from this habit and work on taking more shots at goal.

This is where the coach comes. The coach must drill this in the players' heads. He should keep a roster of all games that each player plays and keep count at how many shots the player takes at goal and how many actually scores. He should look for players who keep to the strategy of taking more shots at goal during "friendlies".

If we don't work on this, we should leave ourselves room for more and more heart breaks. We cannot leave our fate to penalty kicks.

In case I sound like I am singing the blues, let me depart with this. We have extremely talented players that will rival any team in the world and as I have said, I continue to be proud of our Black Stars.

Tony Pobee-Mensah