Archive for February, 2011

14
Feb
11

CHAN 2011: Herbert Addo’s Failure – A Local Coach’s Burden?

When Local Black Stars striker Nuhu Fuseini sent me a facebook text message asking me and Ghanaians to pray for the Local Black Stars, little did I know that the team was going to give Ghana her worst tournament performance since the Egypt 2006 fiasco!!

But now, thinking through the chronicle of events prior to and during the tournament, I realise that the signs were clearly written on the wall that the Local Black Stars were always going to be terrible at Sudan 2011.

After Ivory Coast 2009, Ghana went to sleep on the Local Black Stars. No friendly games were organized. A rigorous scouting system to track and pick the best players in Ghana wasn’t put in place. The results? Ghana struggled to qualify to the finals of the tournament and struggled through the pre-tournament training games in Kenya failing to beat even Academy teams. We should have seen this disastrous tournament performance coming!!

Some people, including goalkeeper Sammy Adjei, have blamed Ghana’s piss-poor performance on the bad nature of the Sudanese pitches. “We went out to there to lift the cup, we don’t know what happened. The pitch was very bad.”

Other folks have questioned the quality of the players. Deputy captain Emmanuel Ansong completely disagrees with this stand point. “We had so many good players in the squad that we did not have the faintest idea this was going to happen to us.”

Yet, some others have claimed that Ghana’s league from where the players were selected is simply not competitive enough. This is the stance of Ghana FA President would-be Vincent Sowah Odotei. “Our domestic football is not competitive. When any of our clubs face teams outside Ghana, we are not able to compete.”

As plausible as these explanations maybe, the buck stops with Herbert Addo. He was the one who, without interference, selected an unbalanced team filled with wing forwards and attackers without midfield depth. He was the one who opted for strikers who were not among the top 20 goal scores in Ghana and put them in his starting line up while top scores (Bismark Asideu, Nana Poku, Nathaniel Asamoah) were left in Ghana. He was the one who overlooked defenders from the best defensive team in Ghana today (Heart of Lions). He was the one who did not have a consistent team in the 6 games (pre- and during the tournament) he played out of which Ghana recorded only one win.

I am struggling to bring out of my memory any coach [local or foreign] who has dragged the flag of Ghana through the mud as much as Herbert Addo did at CHAN 2011. It beggars belief to imagine that Ghana’s highest pedigree active coach today will fail to produce a single win in a competition where he could pit his tactical strength against his peers on the African continent.

Now in a classic case of the fathers eating a sour grape, and the children’s teeth being set on edge, Herbert Addo’s failure is being generalized as the failure of every Ghanaian coach. The nationalistic call for risking tournaments wins in the hands of Ghanaian coaches in order to build their capacity for the future has suffered a great dip.

It will border on naivety to completely write off Ghanaian coaches just because one or two of them made wrong choices. After all, when foreign coaches take over Ghana’s national teams and mess up our chances in international competitions, an end to hiring foreign coaches is not argued for. This bad performance from Herbert Addo is just another slip from which core lessons ought to be learnt instead of just hanging all local coaches for the failures of one man.

Perhaps the Ghana FA must rather than follow this naive call to do away with Ghanaian coaches, spend much more time assessing these coaches before placing them in charge of national teams to ensure that only the best at a particular time is selected. Continue reading ‘CHAN 2011: Herbert Addo’s Failure – A Local Coach’s Burden?’

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10
Feb
11

CHAN 2011: Ghana 0-1 Zimbabwe

10
Feb
11

Ghana 4-1 Togo: All the goals

09
Feb
11

Ghana 4-1 Togo: Plavi’s signal is clear – attack attack attack!!!

GORAN ‘PLAVI’ STEVANOVIC’S first outing with the Black Stars has sent a clear signal that he means business. He was not joking when he said he was interested in attacking football. It was such a refreshing game to watch seeing Ghana’s play pick up slowly to an exciting crescendo with some sweet all-attack-all-defend football.

It was even more pleasing to watch as Plavi tried as many of his options on the bench as possible and how that these tactical experiments did not weaken the performance of the team. If this performance is an indication of how the Black Stars will perform, them Plavi is on his way to become a Black Stars coaching legend.

Congratulations to Plavi, Akwasi Appiah and the entire playing body for the victory. Today, we celebrate even though against a weaker opponent. A couple of competitive games, and the message Plavi hopes to send will sink properly. But until then, Ghanaians are happy with the turn out.

GHANA 4-1 TOGO

1-0 Dominic Adiyiah

1-1 Akakpo

2-1 Jonathan Mensah

3-1 Own Goal (forced by Kwadwo Asamoah)

4-1 Samuel Inkoom

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07
Feb
11

FRIENDLY: Ghana vs Togo lets see what Plavi has for Ghana

GORAN ‘PLAVI’ STEVANOVIC will be in charge of the Senior Black Stars for the first time when Ghana plays its first game of the year 2011 against Togo on February 8th 2011 in Belgium. Time was, when one could predict an easy win for Ghana against Togo. But apart from the fact that there are no minnows in football anymore, the dynamics of Black Stars football does not allow for such complacent predictions.

A generation of stars is fading out. New would-be stars are eager to make lasting impressions on the team, officials and fans. There is a new coach; he has called up a squad made up often regular known faces and some inactive players who will have to justify this and subsequent call ups.

Everyone is now looking to see how Plavi steers the Black Stars in the midst of all these changing scenarios. Whatever the outcome of this friendly is, expectations about Plavi’s ability to deliver his promises to Ghanaians will be formed.

And what did he promise Ghanaians? First, he promised a strategy of attacking football executed with a 4-1-4-1 tactical formation. He also promised to be the first coach to win Ghana a senior level international cup since 1982.

Prince Tagoe has to impress

Prince Tagoe has to impress

Well, it will be interesting to see whether Plavi will find switching the team from a two defensive midfield line up (4-2-3-1) to a 4-1-4-1. Of course, essentially, Plavi’s plan does not intend to overhaul the 5-man midfield and 1-top structure of the team, which is good for consistency. He perhaps believes that the one player is enough to cover up the hole between the defence and the midfield and that extra players are needed forward. And how far forward is he willing to push up this extra player? What extra benefit will such a move bring to Ghana?

What roles they will be assigned is also of keen interest. We wait with bated breath to see whether or not Plavi will stick to his promise and if he does, whether these proposed twitches will be of any use to the team in Ghana’s quest to win cups with attacking football.

Speaking of attacking football, even though Ghana is not under pressure to win this game, one can already imagine the impressions Ghanaians will form of Plavi’s future with Ghana should Ghana’s performance not live up to expectations. They will question why Plavi will call up inactive players. They will ask what the likes of John Boye are doing in the team when no one has any record of their participation in any competitive game.

So, bring the game on, lets see what Plavi has in store for Ghana.

GHANA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Richard Kingson (Blackpool, England), Ernest Sowah (Berekum Chelsea, Ghana)

Defenders: John Paintsil (Fulham, England) Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) Nana Kwesi Asare (FC Utrecht, Holland) David Addy (Academica Coimbra, Portugal) Jonathan Mensah (Granada, Spain) Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim, Germany) John Mensah (Sunderland, England) John Boye (Rennes, France)

Midfielders: Anthony Annan (Schalke 04, Germany), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France) Derek Boateng (Getafe, Spain) Sulley Muntari (Sunderland, England) Bernard Kumordzi (Panionios, Greece)

Attackers: Prince Tagoe (Partizan Belgrade, Serbia), Dominic Adiyiah (Partizan Belgrade, Serbia) Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese, Italy)

05
Feb
11

CHAN 2011: What now for Ghana after Amabinneplaas’ sucker-punch

My heart is saddened as I write this piece. South Africa’s inexperienced Amabinneplaas delivered Ghana a dazing upper cut; coming from behind to win 2-1 against Ghana.

The loss has been very difficult for Ghanaians to take in. Man-for-Man, the South Africans were supposed to be no match for the experienced and in-form Ghanaians. And Ghana jumped to the lead, with a Daniel Larbi Coomson opener, and appeared to the cruising to a deserved win. So, what went wrong for the hot favourites?

A full analysis of the game is impossible [in this article] as television feeds went off for almost half of the game. Of course, the buck stops with the coach. Simon Ngomane’s superior strategy which cancelled Ghana’s lead and subsequently won the game only points out lapses in Herbert Addo’s tactical awareness.

A lot has been said in the struggle against the culture of sidestepping local coaches for foreigners. At present, Addo is one of Ghana’s better local coaches. So, if he does not get his tactics right as we go forward in this tournament, the argument in favour of local coaches will suffer yet another blow. It is not encouraging to watch that the local Black Stars drop in performance since the final squad was named. One win in 4 games, 6 goals for and 7 against in all games (friendly and competitive) is nothing to be proud of, give the depth of talent in Ghana.

Hope cannot be completely lost though.

One group game loss is not enough to make a team drop out of the competition. With luck and 4 points, Ghana can still qualify. So, the 6 points left to claim in the group should be a source of hope. Niger may have worsened Ghana’s chances by beating Zimbabwe 1-0 but, both Niger and Zimbabwe play a completely unorganized game. It therefore should not be an insurmountable task beating them. Fortunately, in the game against South Africa, Herbert Addo’s Black Stars displayed physical robustness albeit the mental toughness was absent. They created chances and were obviously willing to try out shots.

The Onus now lies on Herbert Addo to get his strategy rightly executed with proper tactics.

03
Feb
11

CHAN 2011: Why Black Stars will beat Amabinneplaas of South Africa

 

Goalkeeper Stephen Adam (Left) and Striker Nuhu Fuseini (Right)

Goalkeeper Stephen Adam (Left) and Striker Nuhu Fuseini (Right)

As a group opener, this game is important for many reasons; chief of which is the confidence or lack of it the results can bring to either team going forward. Ghana should be able to easily overcome South Africa, and here are the reasons.

 

[1] Depth

The Ghanaian team is rich in depth with some 23 in-form players; a number of whom have seen it all in domestic, international club and national team competitions. Coach Herbert Addo will have on his hands, a nice little problem of player selection with so many good players in his squad. The Amabinneplaas on the other hand is made up of amateurs and inexperienced second-tier players from South Africa. If depth translates into performance, then the South Africans should be toast.

[2] On the wings with flying colours

One of Ghana’s weapons in Sudan is the number of players who can make flanking manoeuvres happen. Not a single match day passes in Ghana’s Glo Premier League without some headline news about exciting performances from Hans Cofie, Bernard Dong Bortey, Larbi Koomson, Obed Owusu and Bismark Idan. All these players provide Coach Herbert Addo with abundant wing forward options. Wing backs like Alfred Arthur and Godfred Saka also reinforce how wide the Ghana team can be.

[3] Attack Attack Attack

Here is how Herbert Addo surprised all Ghanaians. Hitherto, he has been known as the ‘One Goal Project’ man for his penchant to get his team to score one goal and shut up shop. One would have expected him to have more midfielders, but Mr. Addo has other plans for CHAN. He has taken 6 of the of the most dangerous goal scorers in Ghana. But these strikers are not just goal scorers, otherwise, some other strikers would have made it to Sudan. These strikers double as tormentors of defenders, holding the ball, dribbling, running and shooting at will.

With the kind of amateur squad coach Simon Ngomane has named, I can safely predict that Gilbert Fiamenyo, Stephen Manu, Nuhu Huseini Fuseini, Bismark Idan and Emmanuel Clottey will give the Amabinneplaas a torrid time.

 

Striker Emmanuel Clottey

Striker Emmanuel Clottey

 

But, it might not be all rosy

One pitfall for Ghana though, might be the spirit with which the young and inexperienced Amabinneplaas are bringing to Sudan. Knowing that they have been written off by South Africans, coach Simon Ngomane and his lads appear to have increased their resolve to do anything to silence their critics. Their recent 1-1 draw with Sweden is a clear indication of their resolve not to go down easily.

Forward Tiyani Mabunda is not to be left unmarked. Cheap free kicks are not to be allowed in Ghana’s defensive third. Otherwise, the hungry Amabinneplaas will give Ghana an embarrassing sucker punch.

 




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