I doff my heart for you and your team at Angola 2010. Qualifying to and playing in the finals of any international tournament is a good achievement for team Ghana, considering that it is the first time Ghana played in the finals since 1992. Although we should have won the cup, I believe you and your entire team can walk out of Angola with shoulders high, you did Ghana proud. You were brave in the face of several odds and put up a courageous fight.
Throughout this tournament, you made one point clear – tactical discipline pays. You took piss-poor players to the tournament, yet managed to take silver. Now I know, you can make pigs fly.
However there are a number of issues which arise that you would have to take a look at ahead of South Africa 2010 World Cup in June. Chief among these issues is the need for experienced players. Mr. Rajevac, you are paid thousands of dollars every month to pick the best 23 players from among several hundreds of thousands. It may not be as easy as we fans erroneously think, but I find it unpardonable that you will ignore the quality some experienced player can bring into the team and yet cry about inexperience. It is imperative that at South Africa, you will not continue this ‘no experience’ song. I doubt if anyone will be ready to listen.
Next is Ghana’s lack of forward depth. If this tournament exposed any gaps in your team (apart from the gaping lack of quality), then it ought to have been Ghana’s inability to take the ball forward. Out of five games, Ghana managed only 4 goals, none of which came from a shot. With your favourite 4-5-1 tactical variation, it seems to me that what we lacked in this tournament is quality down the wings to support the lone striker. Sir, please find us wingers. While Opoku, Ayew and Draman did their best, I hope you are considering alternatives for South Africa.
Again, I think there was something wrong with playing right-footed Opoku on the left and left-footed Ayew on the right. Sir, how can you explain taking out an attacker for a defender when your team is 0-1 down with a few minutes left? The point I am making here is that your substitutions are suspect.
That said, I am very optimistic about our future. I am confident that under your watchful eyes, Ghana’s World Cup squad will be one of the best coached and tactically disciplined sides. If I understand what is going on, I think you have not just seen the best of our players, but you have made sure that a wider pool of players have gained quality experience. Of course, this makes Ghana formidable in future tournaments.
In one year, you have taken the local Black Stars to the finals of the CHAN competition, qualified to the world cup in record time and now CAN finals. You have entered the biggest room in the world – the room for improvement. Don’t rest on your oars. Take pride in your achievements. Turn them into stepping stones to reach future heights. Work on your tactics and take your own country Serbia by storm on 13th June 2010 at the Loftus Vesrsfield Stadium in Pretoria South Africa (if you can).
On a much lighter note, did you ever think a foreign coach can lift the Nations Cup for Ghana?
Congratulations and better luck next time.