Sports Features of Monday, 21 January 2013

Source: Appiah, Papa

Ghana – Congo –It Wasn’t That Bad.

Come on Ghanaians, it was not that bad. The Congolese did outplay us sometimes but I thought whenever we got the ball we exuded professionalism and appeared to be playing to a set pattern. And to be fair to Kwesi Appiah, who largely looked out of sorts on the touchline, he got one decision right. Fatau Dauda in goal did a good job. For a goalkeeper having only his second cap in a big tournament, he performed above expectation. In fact we owe it to him not to have lost the game.

Ghana has been known to be slow starters in competitions. I remember our drab goaless game against Cameroun in our first match, when we went on to win the cup in 1982. So all is not lost yet, if Kwesi Appiah would learn from his mistakes, and there were many, and sort out the team for the next game.

For a start, who put our famous number 10 jersey on Danquah-Adomah? There should be a parliamentary decree requesting that shirt be taken off his back. This is the shirt worn by great players like Baba Yara, Abdul Razak, Emmanuel Quarshie and Abedi Pele. How dare a struggling second division player in the English League wear that shirt? He did not fit in the shirt and he did not fit in the team! Somebody should give him the number 33 shirt for all I care, but not the number 10, please!

Who asked Kwesi Appiah to play Kwadwo Asamoah, one of our very best players in the left full back position? Oh, he plays in that position in Juventus; I hear them say, except that is not true. Asamoah plays in the wing back position in a 3-5-2 formation at Juventus. There is a difference! And Juventus happen to have Pirlo, one of the greatest midfielders in the world, and we don’t. Why should Kwadwo Asamoah be stuck in the fullback position, with players like Adomah and Derek Boateng in our midfield? What a joke!

John Paintsil talked himself back into the team and talked himself into a less than average performance. Jerry Akaminko was “left alone” many a time at the back. What happened to good old aVorsah hey? He must be a 100% fit for after all, that was the criteria for selection anyway. But then again, why am I not surprised at his omission?

Derek Boateng, along with Agyemang Badu, has, since the appointment of Kwesi Appiah, turned himself into an unofficial spokesman for the Black Stars. I thought he would transfer that into his performances on the pitch. While Agyemang Badu did well and even got a goal, I think Boateng should be retired to stud duties. He has done his bit for the nation. He must now admit he lacks the legs for top level competition.

This is the first time I have seen Christian Atsu play and I wondered what all the fuss was about. Obviously there is some special talent yearning to come out but at the moment, I do not think he is any better than the over-exuberant Ayew we saw in Accra in 2008. At the time people said he was immature and had been forced into the team because of his dad. So Dede Ayew has been left out of the team for the likes of Atsu and Adomah! I reserve my comments on that. Wakaso is a hardworking player, but if truth be told, only an average one.

Poor Asamoah Gyan! What can I say? When this guy decided not to play for Ghana again, Kwesi Appiah, keeping to his determination to instil discipline and treat all players equally, went round the world at tax payers’ expense to plead with him to come back into the team as captain. I have said before, that players who play in places like the UAE lack the fitness and pace to perform in top level competition. I hope he proves me wrong and performs better in subsequent matches, because in the absence of Jordan Ayew, we do not have any better alternative, thanks to our disciplinarian coach.

Is it just me or did our players look out of breath and out of sorts in the latter parts of the game? Do we have a proper trained fitness coach in the team? Just a thought.

We can do better. I believe Atsu and Wakaso should be given a second chance in a 4-2-3-1 formation as follows;

Fatau Dauda ---- Jonathan Mensah, Boye, Vorsah, Harrison Afful ---Annan, Agyemang Badu -----Christian Atsu, Kwadwo Asamoah Wakasu ---- Gyan.

I wish the guys all the best.

Papa Appiah