On September 28, Ghana’s Black Satellites attempt to take one more step towards the African Youth Championship to be held in Rwanda early 2009. Ghana’s Black Satellites have a have two-pronged challenge ahead of them. They have the task of stepping beyond the heights achieved by the Black Satellites of 1993 and 2001. Also, within this current squad, an entire nation is hoping to find enough talent to replace its clearly aging heroes.
In deed, there are those who believe that resident in Sellas Tetteh’s Black Satellites is the potential to finally win Ghana real silverware at the senior level some few years to come.
It is said that, sufficient unto the day, is the evil thereof. While we plan for tomorrow, we must clear today’s load. Gambia must be beaten convincingly; home and away if the hopes Ghana have placed in this team is not going to fizzle into thin air.
Gambia will look to give Sellas Tetteh and his team trouble at Ohene Djan on September 28th . I foresee Ghana coming under intense pressure at one point or another in the game. They may seek to gain physical advantage over Ghana . No one should expect an easy game. The pre-match talk has been full of optimism and to some extent uncomfortable complacency. Rather than telling the world about our opponent’s weakness, perhaps Mr. Tetteh and his team will do us all some good by focusing on planning and practicing a strategy which will handle the Gambian Challenge.
Gang-Ho from the blast of the whistle
Ghana should mount early pressure; applying gang-ho force on the Gambian defense from the blast of the whistle. This should unsettle the Gambians early and put some fear in their defense. I expect this initial fear to take a lot of mental steam from the Gambians. Of course they will put up a fight in response!
Should the Gambians respond by pushing their defense up, Ghana has enough players with pace to go around the Gambians. In David Addy, Andre Ayew, Rabium Mohammed, Sadick Adam and Samuel Inkoom , Ghana possesses above average pace, which is enough to undo the Gambian defense. Suppose the Gambians opt to defend deep, then it will be important to fall on the height of Rabiu Mohammed and Agyeman Badu to apply aerial pressure on the Gambian goal. Of course with support from good crosses from the flanks, the canon shots of Sadick and wits of Ransford Osei in the penalty box.
Block the holes
No matter the amount of pressure Ghana applies on Gambia, the real challenge of September 28th 2008 is likely to lie in tightening Ghana’s defense bolt. Ghana’s defensive set-up has the tendency of sleeping off during the game. On a number of occasions, the Black Satellites have conceded goals from defensive lapses. Ghana needs a leader in defense who can read the game and think of quick solutions to the many troubling situations which will arise. Additionally, if our full backs will be used to their full potential, then our regular central defensive pair, Rockson and Boampong need to put on their concentration caps for 90minutes plus extra time. This is the only way they can cover up for the full backs.
Goalkeeper Joseph Addo has been severally described as a walking disaster due to his inability to handle the ball properly and bad timing. If he is not to be replaced, then Sellas may have to augment the defense with a defensive midfielder to assist in solidifying the defense and holding off the Gambian offense. Perhaps this may slow the Gambians down to give Addo the chance to properly settle.With Andre Ayew, Rabiu Mohammend and Agyeman Badu all called up and likely to start, it may be wise to withdraw Badu to defensive midfield.
The Gambians are a scoring team. They are likely to come fighting for a goal. They will look for holes in Ghana’s team. Two, which they can easily find are the gaps left by our lateral defenders when they join the attack and the offence mindedness of Ghana’s midfielders, Rabiu, Badu and Ganiyu. Whenever these departments of the game are set off, there are clear gaps which opponents have always attempted to take advantage of. Mr. Tetteh needs to find way of covering these players up when they are on the move.
Enough of the talk – lets walk!
Once some of these concerns are well ironed out, I do not see why Ghana should not clear the Gambian hurdle With enough goals. The optimism which has featured in the pre-match talk from both Sellas and some of the players is positive to and can spur Ghana to victory, so long as complacency is eschewed. On September 28, 2008, it will be time to walk all the talk. I pray excuses will not be made. I also hope no prisoners will betaken. Ghana needs a convincing home win as an insurance for the away match against Gambia. Winning with enough goals is a must!
To the playing body, I say give it your best shot. Turn the style on and revenge the crime Gambia committed against Ghana in 2001 when a Gambian home fan came from the stands to head home a winning goal in a crunch African U-17 final. Revenge for the ‘I don’t care’ attitude FIFA and CAF put up on this matter. This is your time to shine. Its is your time to write your name in Ghanaian hearts. It is your time to book a place in Angola and South Africa 2010. Go and get it!
All the very best!