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Sports Features of Friday, 21 January 2011

Source: Alpha, Shaban Barani

Welcome Plavi

*ÜDVÖZLET PLAVI! – Welcome Plavi!*

*It's OFFICIAL! the Ghana Football Association (GFA) unveiled the man they
believed was best suited to help steer affairs of the senior national team,
the Black Stars, at least for the next two years. That man was Serb Goran

Since that ceremony, and despite the man taking over the reigns officially
on February 1, some of his submissions and answers to journalists who were
present at the event made interesting listening to and thinking about.

Of the myriad of issues he touched on it was clear that the Serbian
tactician believed it was time for the team to win trophies; Asamoah Gyan
was going to be a lone ranger, at least per his tactical disposition, and
players seen as *“spent forces”* may be thrown lifelines.


*The matter with respect to Asamoah Gyan, arguably Ghana’s best attacker in
the last few years, staying upfront alone has left myself and I believe many
others wondering.*

In any case, with the coach having revealed that he believed in attacking
football, and his penchant for the 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1 system, Gyan would
always then be the one man who stays on top. Question is, in his absence
what? Better still, who plays upfront?

We are faced with an Asamoah Gyan who is prone to injuries here and there,
the presupposition here being that when we lose him, we are most likely to
be found wanting.

What will be of the Black Stars and Ghana’s search for typical number nine
man cast in the mould of Anthony Yeboah to spearhead the team to the
trophies Goran believes it is time the team annexes.

Additionally, with a Gyan who hardly plays alone upfront at Sunderland, one
is tempted to wonder how well the youngster can carry the weight of having
to deliver bearing in mind the very critical public and media that are
constantly in wait to critique.

Granted Gyan is left alone upfront, an attacking midfield support, I am
sure, should be of essence to lift a little of the weight off the shoulders
of a certain Gyan who has seen the very good and most damning sides of fans
in Ghana.


*By my understanding of the return of Chelsea ace, Michael Essien’s return
to the team being of priority as reported by, it is most
likely to leave the Coach disappointed.*

The simple reason being that Essien by his current form at Chelsea, will be
looking to concentrate more on maintaining a place at Stamford Bridge;
international games have proven to be some distraction to players over the
years, and Essien is not an exception.

In any case, even if not totally the team has over the years managed to
replace to some extent, every player, with none being indispensable – no
disrespect intended – to that extent I think that Goran does not
unnecessarily go on a *“wild goose”* chase.

Some supposed senior players have in the past acted in ways that are in no
way good for team morale and for emulation by the younger ones in the team.
Entertaining some of them in the name of a lifeline, we can only hope inures
to the benefit of the team.


As for Ghana and youth football, the history is unparalleled. Goran must as
he promised build on the successes of his immediate predecessor, Milovan
Rajevac, in helping to unearth young talents and blend them into the Black
Stars team.

Young players have been identified the world over at club and national team
levels as the future of the game, the reason for which most managers adopt a
system of blending youth and experience (old age) in a concerted effort to
maximize gains.


The media are more like the result measurement rod of Ghana Football - a
‘necessary evil’ per the ratings of Marianno Baretto, Ratomir Djukovic,
Claude Le Roy and Milovan Rajevac. But often times, one may admit that the
media cannot be done away with.

Players, fan groups, association officials, political leaders and even
fellow journalists, have not been left off the media scrutiny of football,
and the earlier Goran gets used to it in hard times, the better.

Other issues Plavi will have to make good his promise on are, delivering
trophies as he emphasized about a week ago and monitoring local premier
league players and identifying talents, whose subsequent progression will be
to his benefit.

Goran himself has called for total support, and has received the backing of
the GFA In my own small way, I wish Goran the very best and hope he delivers
as promised. *ÜDVÖZLET PLAVI! is Hungarian for Welcome Plavi!*

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*© Shaban Barani Alpha*

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