Sports Features of Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Source: E.K. Kissi

BS Positional Analysis and Player Selections

Part I:

The fans of the Black Stars of Ghana commend national team coach Akwasi Appiah for his bold selections for the 2014 World Cup. It has been over 33years since Ghana won a trophy at the senior men’s national soccer team level. We the fans are anxious and tired of waiting. We hope Brazil 2014 will be the year in which the Ghana Black Stars brings the coveted World Cup trophy to Accra. This will ease the pain of Ghanaians seeing the Cedi plummet in value against the major currencies senselessly.

Ghana is capable of winning the World Cup if the Black Stars coach is bold enough to select the players who can accomplish that mission. For this to happen, the coach should apply tactical strategies and benchmarking. These are the areas I believe that the coach is lacking. We the fans of the Black Stars want coach Appiah to succeed, but he must apply tactical analysis and benchmarking in player selections.

In modern soccer, each position requires a certain type of player based on physical, technical, leadership and mental attributes. Again, benchmarking is important in ascertaining these attributes. As a consequence, the objective of this article is to examine all eleven positions of the Black Stars and select players who are capable of performing at the highest level and bringing the World Cup to Accra.

Before we analyze each position, it must be noted that players like Samuel Inkoom, Jordan Ayew and Fatau Dauda have no place on the team. These are not the players a national team needs to with the World Cup. I will urge coach Appiah to eliminate these players before the global showpiece commences.

As I have mentioned, Coach Akwasi Appiah should start to utilize benchmarking and tactical analysis. At the goalkeeper’s position, the global game nowadays requires players who are over six foot in height, big and agile. To benchmark, coach Appiah should look at the best goalkeepers in the World and see their size height and agility and find someone who fits that mold.

Peter Cech of Chelsea and Manual Neuer of Germany are two of the best in the World. They are tall, big, agile and match fit. The preferred goalkeeper for Ghana, Fatau Duada is not match fit, not tall, but agile. Coach Appiah’s selection of this player is a mistake. All Black Stars fans know that Fatau Dauda has not been active for his team in South Africa and is not a goalkeeper who will win you the World Cup. He has shown tremendous weaknesses in crosses into the eighteen box. A clear example is the goal Egypt scored during return match during the qualifiers for Brazil 2014 World Cup.

I urge Coach Appiah to take a serious look at goalkeeper Razak Brimah. He is the goalkeeper who has the height, size and agility as compared to some of the best in the World. As a result, the goalkeeper selection should have been Stephen Adams, Adam Kwarasay and Razak Brimah.

The right-back position requires a player who can defend on the ground and in the air. Another attribute is ability to cross the ball into the opponent’s eighteen yard box. The best right back in the World is Brazil’s Dani Alves.

Samuel Inkoom cannot defend, cannot cross and cannot defend air-balls and gives the ball away easily to Ghana’s opponents. What does coach Appiah sees in this player? He has had a lot of chances to impress, but to no avail; nonetheless, coach Appiah keeps calling him. His inadequacies as a defender have been exploited by our opponents in many tournaments; yet Coach Appiah keeps selecting him. Watch clips of Samuel Inkoom during CHAN 2009 finals against DR Congo and see that all two goals came from his side. Also, 2009 U-20 World Cup against Brazil, he gave the ball away which resulted in the red card to Daniel Addo and caused the team to play most of the game with 10 players.

Moreover, during African Cup of Nations 2012 quarter-finals, Inkoom was easily beat in the air for Tunisia to equalize. Lastly, in the same 2012 Cup of Nations semi-finals against Zambia, Inkoom game the ball away, resulting in the Zambia’s winning goal. Despite these notable inadequacies, I disagree with coach Appiah inviting this player for the World Cup 2014 for the right-back position. This is not a player who can defend Cristiano Ronaldo and wins the World Cup for Ghana.

Opare has shown that he can defend and cross the ball. The only thing lacking for Opare is his height. At that highest level, that can be exploited. A player like Cristiano Ronaldo can definitely exploit Ghana’s lack of height at the lateral defensive areas. Egypt almost scored against Ghana in Kumasi when Opare’s lack of height was exploited by Abutreika’s freekick; however, the Egyptians headed the ball over the bar. The players suited for the right back position are Samuel Aisoonson, Jonathan Mensah and Jerry Akaminko.

Stay tuned for part II of this article, objective positional analysis and player selection of the Black Stars World Cup 2014 campaign continues next time.

Black Stars fans best 26 players based on experience, fitness and current form for 2014 World Cup :

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Stephen Adams and Razak Brimah

Right-backs: Samuel Ainooson, Daniel opare and Jonathan Mensah

Left-backs: Jeffrey Schlupp, Masahudu Alhassan and Gideon Baah

Center-Backs: Jerry Akaminko, John Boye, Awal Mohammed and Kwabena Edusie

Midfield: Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mubarak Wakaso, David Titi Accam, Rabui Mohammed, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Afriyie Acquah, Patrick Nyarko.

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan, Kevin Prince Boateng, Abdul Majeed Warris

Stand-by or Bench: Emmanuel Osei Banahene, Kwame Karikari, Rashid Samaila, Christian Atsu and Isaac Coffie.