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Sports News of Saturday, 29 June 2019

Source: Kofi Koranteng

Coach Kofi Koranteng writes: Teething problems in the dawn of a new era

Ghana’s Tuesday result against Benin surely must have left a sour taste in our mouths, as Black Stars fans.

Some Ghanaians are already calling for the head of the Head coach and some of the players.

Quite understandably, the frustrations weigh heavier after other Afcon giants started their opening games with three points, and our next opponent is the defending champions Cameroon on Saturday. Some of the glaring mistakes and lack of concentration, at this level, cannot be overlooked. Watching the game carefully, especially, after the first goal, the Black Stars started stringing some passes together and asserting themselves a bit more.

There were clearly some lapses in defence and this can be looked at in a myriad of ways. The defence was clearly adapting to a new philosophy which is a great departure from the previous style of football. We wouldn’t want to lose our aggression, physicality and technical ability; however, it is imperative that, we embrace possessive football in its total discipline.

I applaud the boldness to build up play from the back and to push the full backs forward. I think it is a good step in the right direction but this must be comprehensively executed to deal with a very high pressing team, who, could cause a lot of problems in our defensive third.

Going forward, the positioning of the back four and the defensive midfielders must always be in anticipation of the worst-case scenario; when the ball is lost in midfield. The first goal the Black Stars conceded was littered with errors right from the midfield. Christian Atsu lost the ball after being sandwiched by two Béninois players, a little scramble ensued after and Kwasi Appiah’s team had an advantage of 5 v 2 and the pressure on the ball was poorly executed.

There was another secondary picture developing where the Black Stars had a 3 v 2 advantage.

The defence was too far away from the two strikers who had time to receive, turn and make forward runs for the pass to goal. From a position of numerical advantage of 8 v 4. It ended up with 2 v 2 in the 18yard box with the goalkeeper undecided early on. This should not be helping if we are to go on and win the tournament. No disrespect to Mounie and Potte, but they aren’t exactly the fearsome front duo in world football, not to mention this tournament.

Nonetheless, once the technical team and the players rectify these glaring lapses. The Black Stars will be a force to reckon with in subsequent games.

Once again, good pathway to evolving our style of play, a bit more urgency in our passing, intensity in our general play will only stand us in good stead, and we may open up defensive minded teams with intricate passing and utilizing the space in behind.

The Black Stars have the ability to go far and highly likely win the ultimate, but if they don’t (touch wood), we wouldn’t make any significant progress with this style of play. All the best to the technical team, and the playing body.

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