13 February 2013

Ghana/South Africa: The Gigantic Failure in South Africa

Ghanaians are licking their wounds, following the disastrous performance by the famed Black Stars in the just-ended 29th African Cup of Nations championship in South Africa. It was a performance that made many ardent followers of the game shy away from watching the concluding stages of the Ghanaian assignment in South Africa.

Many at the centre of the earth would want to forget the awful display against Cape Verde in the quarter-finals, the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the semi-finals, and the Eagles of Mali in the third-place play-off in a hurry.

In many homes and offices across the country, the inquest has already begun. There are many out there who hold the opinion that while the idea of an indigenous coach is paramount to the development of the game back home, the experiment with Kwasi Appiah is not working.

On many occasions, the national coach did not appear to have answers to the opponents' style of play. In other words, the technical direction of the team was not well grounded. It was obvious that the Black Stars assembled in South Africa with only one plan. Anytime the opposition neutralised the game plan, the Black Stars were found wanting in South Africa.

Apart from the game against the minnows of Niger, the Black Stars were at the receiving end throughout. When the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde, representative of that tiny island with barely half a million population, exposed the Black Stars defence and left the attacking machinery, led by national captain Asamoah Gyan, in tatters, connoisseurs of the game predicted a hard time for Ghana.

As it was, the only player who truly paid his dues to mother Ghana is Fatau Dauda, who was a revelation in the post. As they say in association football, when the goalkeeper is your best player, then you have a problem.

The Chronicle is in no doubt that something drastic ought to be done before the Black Stars resume the World Cup preliminaries against the Chipolopolo of Zambia, the Nile Crocodiles of Sudan, and tiny Lesotho. The Chronicle urges the Ghana Football Association to compel Kwasi Appiah to swallow his pride and call in the big boys.

We expect an early call up for the Ayew bBrothers - Andre Dede and Jordan - Sulley Muntari and Essien, now in Real Madrid. These established professionals could bring the desired changes and make the Black Star shine again.

We are aware of the decision of Kelvin Prince Boateng not to play for Ghana again. It is a very strange decision, apparently based on what might have irked in the Black Stars' camp. We believe, however, that with the right approach, from the very top of the football hierarchy, Kelvin would change his mind. With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as the bait, we would like to believe that the A.C. Milan player might change his mind.

The greatest stage for a player to perform is the World Cup. We are in no doubt that Kelvin was attracted to AC Milan by his extra-ordinary performance in the 2010 World Cup for Ghana in South Africa.

The Chronicle would like to believe that it is in the interest of national skipper Asamoah Gyan to return to the tough leagues in Europe, if he is to recapture his form. In South Africa, he tried to do his best. But, it was obvious that lack of major challenges in the Arab league in the United Arab Emirates has affected his game. He looked sluggish in South Africa, wasting chances that he would normally have buried.

The Arab league is about money without major challenges. It is not the sort of league that would prepare top class players for the world stage. A word to the wise is enough, they say.

Kwasi Appaih has two years to run on his contract. We would suggest that the FA throws a protective shield around him, and get him to work with experienced hands, for him to gain confidence. As it is, The Chronicle is tempted to believe that confidence is in short supply in the technical direction of the Black Stars.

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