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.


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