There were those who believed that the Nations Cup qualifier between Ghana and Sudan on Sunday 10th October, 2010 was a foregone conclusion. The Black Stars were going to make mincemeat of Sudan. These beliefs became mere wishful thinking as the game turned out to be a bore draw which the Sudanese will be happy to take.
Coach Kwasi Appiah went into the game with the 4-2-3-1 formation, hoping that Gyan would lead Andre and Jordan Ayew in attack with support from Kwadwo Asamoah. The 4-2-3-1 deep tactic is Ghana’s preferred formation and many had hoped for at least a win this that tactic. But Ghana’s midfield and attacking machinery simply refused to work. A lot of the players did not have the sense of urgency on a day when the Sudanese team had a perfect antidote for Ghana’s attack.
Gyan’s shooting was just terrible. The least he could have done was to set up the wide forwards, but how could he when he displayed such poor first touch? Jordan Ayew’s inexperience and inclination to play to the gallery weakened Ghana’s attack further. Kwadwo Asamoah’s tendency to hold on to the ball too long destroyed team cohesion and ball supply to the other three forwards wasn’t enough. Bernard Yao-Kumordzi continued to show his predisposition to choking anytime he is given the big national team role. He made a complete mess of the deep-lying playmaker role. Enter Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu with his bird-killing shots. It was just not a good day for Ghana.
To some extent, Ghana’s lethargic performance on Sunday can be explained by tactical confusion on the part of Kwasi Appiah. Rather than sticking to his core tactical formation and tinkering with variations, Kwasi Appiah chose to change tactics from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 and then to 4-3-3. I thought the inconsistency in tactics confused some of the players, especially those players who are either too young or have not played to the level where they can contain such tactical manoeuvres.
The other disturbing situation was the wanton manner in which the Black Stars execute set pieces. Apart from training with their respective club managers, the core of this current Black Stars have trained under Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, Sellas Tetteh (both of whom were one time African coach of the year), Ratomir Dujkovic, Claude Leroy and Milovan Rajevac. It is unpardonable that to date, not a single player can convert free kicks. It is even more intolerable to watch as Ghana executes free kicks and corner kicks without any rehearsed pattern. This problem has haunted Ghana for so long one begins to wonder what Black Stars coaches are paid to do.
Perhaps, the poor performance of the Black Stars on Sunday will serve as a wakeup call for all. The team needs a substantive leader who will bring back the sense of urgency. The Ministry of Sports ought to quit playing pranks with player bonuses and the GFA should not take the vacant coaching position for granted, we need a world class and EXPERIENCED coach as soon as practicable.
All is not lost however, one point is better than none. There are 12 more points for grabs. The Black Stars will have to their boots and get ready for Congo next year.
GHANA: Richard Kingson, Hans Adu-Sarpei, John Paintsil, Isaac Vorsa, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Bernard Yao-Kumordzi, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Asamoah Gyan (Red Card).
SUBS USED: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu for Bernard Yao-Kumordzi, Prince Tagoe for Jordan Ayew and Emmanuel Clottey for Andre Ayew.