Coach Herbert Addo and his CHAN Black Stars squad are in Kenya, preparing to face the rest of Africa this February in Sudan. A lot of Ghanaians will expect them to return home with the cup. So, which players are likely to impress in Sudan?
Awal Mohammed (Central Defender)
Awal is a tall athletic defender with an imposing physical presence. He was unknown until he was signed from Feyenoord Academy by Kotoko. Already, since his inclusion into the Kotoko squad, the 22-year old Awal has been described by many a fan as one of the best things to have happened to Kotoko’s season. Awal will be expected to showcase his rare anticipation, aerial command and general combative attitude at the tournament. It should not be surprising to have scouts all over him during and after the tournament. It should also not come as a surprise if after the tournament, Awal finds his name on Senior Blacks Stars coach Goran Stevanovic’s team sheet.
Godfred Saka (Lateral/Wing Back)
Godfred is Ghana’s own version of Douglas Maicon. Over the course of two seasons, Godfred has maintained consistent form in the right wing back role for Aduana Stars in the Glo Premier League. His defensive skills and speed down the right wing might end up as the revelation of the tournament. Defensive skills aside, Godfred’s work rate has never ceased to amaze observers.
Gilbert Fiamenyo (Striker)
It is unclear whether Gilbert will have a starting position. However, Gilbert does not need 90 minutes to show what stuff he is made of. Gilbert had struggled to find first team place in a number of premier league teams including Accra Hearst of Oak. His big break came during the 2010/1011 Glo (Ghana) Premier League pre-season Top 4 Tournament where he brought his dribbling and strike abilities to bear at Heart of Lions. A solid team player with aptitude for both striking and attacking midfield roles, Gilbert’s strengths lie in his sublime dribbling talent. One cannot expect a prolific goals rate from Gilbert, but when given the chance, he is sure to set Sudan ablaze with his nimble foot.
Bismark Idan (Striker)
Bismark was top scorer of the 2009/2010 Glo (Ghana) Premier League. His contribution to the game goes beyond scoring to providing crucial assists. Ghanaians owe their qualification into the finals of CHAN 2011 to the left foot of Bismark. On March 28, 2010 when Burkina Faso stood between Ghana and qualification, Bismark’s 38th minute strike was enough to seal Ghana’s qualification. It is this same big match temperament which will eventually save the blushes of Ghanaians at Madany, Sudan when the tournament begins.
Hans Cofie (Winger)
Two years ago, after watching an U-20 international qualifier, I thought Hans did not have what it took to represent Ghana at any level. But times change and 2 years can make a whole lot of difference in the life of a footballer. Hans has matured into a fine player this season with some stellar wing performances. Hans is one of the top scorers in Ghana’s Glo Premier League so far and one can expect him to translate his club-side goal scoring form to the national team
Bernard Dong Bortey (Striker, Winger)
There are only a few players in Ghana’s squad with the depth of international experience Bernard brings to the squad. Bernard is a utility forward who can function as a winger, striker or attacking midfielder. At club level, Bernard was joint goal king in the 2003/2003 Ghana Premier League season. He was also, one of the top three performers of Accra Hearts of Oak’s Africa-conquering team of 1999-2001 seasons. This season, Bernard has already scored 4 goals from wing position for title defenders Aduana.
At national level, Bernard has already featured 77 times for Ghana at all age levels, netting 38 goals. He has featured for the Senior Black Stars 27 times, scoring 11 goals. Sometimes, in tournament football, there comes a time when players who have been there and done that must step up and bring their experience to bear. This is where Bernard will be vital for Ghana.