Sports Features of Thursday, 10 April 2014

Source: Isaac Kyei Andoh

Our best players in Europe so far this season

With the Brazil showpiece just around the corner, players are doing all they can to get enough playing time that will boost their chances of donning the national colors in the global showpiece.

With last ditch effort being made to catch the eye of Coach Kwesi Appiah, we cannot lose sight of those players who have been red hot and played week in week out since the commencement of the leagues.

Below are our top five best players in Europe so far this season. In no particular order, I present to you Ghana’s top five players of the season so far.

Kwadwo Asamoah

The Juventus midfielder has been in great form this season. With form and game time eluding most of our crucial central midfielders in Europe, the former Liberty Professional man hasn’t looked back from last season and has been a constant feature for Juventus this season. Deployed on the left side of midfield in Conte’s 352 system, Kwadwo Asamoah supports the team defensively on the left hand side and serves as the main threat going forward. He certainly will be onboard to Brazil.

Jerry Akaminko

With our team short of form and match fitness at the defensive department of the game, Akaminko gives Kwesi Appiah a glimmer of hope as he searches desperately for the right defensive partnership that can stop CR7 and the German machine. His partnership with Servet Cetin and Sezgin Coskun has been the most effective in the Turkish topflight. The pairing has conceded the least number of goals per game. Akaminko has won the most tackles and made the most interception in the Turkish topflight. In his absence, Eskisehirspor have raked in 12 goals in 5 games. On his day, he will give Ronaldo a good run for his millions of dollars. A sure bet for Brazil.

Adam Kwarasse

The Ghanaian shot stopper is the current reigning best goalkeeper in Norway. Leading Stromsgodset to their first league title in over 20 years has been the highlights of Kwarasse’ season. With Fatao Dauda struggling for game time, Kwarassey should fancy his chances of returning to his position as the number one. He would however have to battle it out with Daniel Adjei who has also been a revelation in the ABSA premier league for Free States Stars and will give the Stromsgodset man a stiff competition- a healthy one of course.

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu

In the form of his life for club, Emmanuel Agemang Badu will fancy his chances of playing at the world cup. The Udinese midfielder has come into his own for the first time this season since joining the club. From spectacular goal to hard crunch tackles, the Black star midfield has registered is name in the minds of many managers across Europe. A world cup will add enormous value to his stock. Another must for Brazil.

Majeed Warris

Perhaps the most improved Ghanaian player in Europe, the dominative striker who has forged a blistering partnership with Asamoah Gyan- has been the most talked about player in France since he was loaned to Valenciennes by Spartak Moscow due to the long winter break in Russia. The 2012 Swedish Premier League Player of the year has found the back of the net nine times in twelve games for the relegation threatened French side. He remains Valenciennes’ hope in their quest to remain in Ligue 1 despite poor form leaving them in the drop zone with just Sochaux and Ajaccio worse off. With unparalleled work-rate, the Right to Dream academy product is a major boost for Kwesi appiah.

Kevin Prince Boateng

Seven goals in 29 matches for Schalke means KP Boateng is our most potent attacking midfielder in Europe. Sometimes deployed as the false 9 for the Bundesliga outfit, the Ghanaian has been a useful addition to the Schalke squard. Despite a bit dip in form given is lofty standard in the past; he remains extremely useful to Schalke and will come in handy for the Black Stars.

My Observations

With keen observation across Europe and monitoring the major league that features Ghanaians, I must admit that this has not been a good season for Ghanaian players and worryingly so in a World Cup year. Players like Michael Essien, Sullay Muntari, Fatau Dauda have struggled for game time in their receptive clubs, whereas as the likes of John Boye, Isaac Vorsa have lost their place in their receptive teams after returning from long-term injuries.

Even though in their absence, players like Agyemang Badu, Jerry Akaminko have made remarkable progress, the temptation to go with names instead of form, being a Ghanaian thing remains my major fear. I however believe that Mr. Kwesi Appiah has the wit and self believe to stick to players who have seen enough football to ensure that we do not travel to Brazil with a half fit team. The decline in the pace of Machael Essien and the poor work rate of Sullay Muntari means that pairing the two in the holding midfield role against the our fast paced European opponent isn’t going to help the team.

With Fatau Dauda, arguably our first choice goal; miles away from the form and pedigree of Richard Kingston when he kept the post in Germany and South Africa respectively, coupled with his bench warming role at Orlando Pirates, the coach must begin to look for a solution. Adam Kwarassay has been magnificent for club but has butterflies when in the National colors.

The technical team must therefore find a way to boost the confidence of the Stromsgodset man or begin to look to Daniel Agyei or Steven Adams. The only sign of relief come June is the form of our new found strike partnership between Abdul Majid Warris and Asamoah Gyan. The two have been in scintillating form for club and country.

It must however be noted that, until we find the right balance, with each position close to perfectly complementing the other, we may scale past the US, who are themselves miles worse-off than they were four years ago, but not against Germany, Portugal and CR7.

Watch out for my next article;

5 players who must be on the Plane to Brazil

5 Players who have no Business in Brazil