The fun part about Ghanaian football is that everyone thinks of himself a better coach than the man in charge of the team. Goran ‘Plavi’ Stevanovic has named and justified his final 23-man team. I wouldn’t be a Ghanaian fan if I did not think of myself a better scout of Ghanaian players than he is, will I?
I find the team to be a seamless blend of many things fans could have asked for – experience, youthful exuberance, players in form and local players. Of course the usual inactive players, the ‘what is he doing in the squad?’ and the ‘lets give him the benefit of the doubt’ players have been thrown in there somewhere. What the squad seems to lack, and this has always been a problem, is a real playmaker.
Adam Larsen Kwarasey (Stromgodest), Ernest Sowah (Berekum Chelsea) Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals)
The name Adam Kwarasey has a nerve-calming effect on every Black Stars fan. He could be the man who wins us the trophy in January. But, can we say same of the others? Ernest Sowah’s inclusion could not have been on current form alone as he is presently not a regular starter for his team. Sowah has played only 4 of the 11 games for Berekum Chelsea this season. Daniel Adjei has on the other hand been in good form. He has played 7 out of the 11 games for his club, conceding 4 goals and keeping 4 clean sheets. Instead of Ernest Sowah, I would have pick either Foli Adade of Dwarfs or Robert Dabuo of Wa All Stars or Hearts of Oak’s Sammy Adjei.
Massawudu Alhassan (FC Genoa), John Paintsil (Leicester City), Isaac Vorsah (TSG Hoffenheim), Lee Addy (Red Star Belgrade), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), John Boye (Stade Rennes), Samuel Inkoom (FC Dnipro).
When fit, John Mensah and his partner Isaac Vorsah are a pretty reliable pair. Jonathan Mensah is a good enough back up. The difficulty with these central defenders is that we cannot be too sure if they will all be available at all times. Vorsah will miss two games, John Mensah is injury prone and Jonathan Mensah returned from injury not long ago and should be struggling to find his fitness back. This is why the inclusion of John Boye is one of the smartest decisions Plavi and his technical team have taken. But why didn’t Francis Dickoh or Rasheed Sumaila make the squad?
Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese), Emmanuel Agyeman-Badu (Udinese), Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan) Anthony Annan (Vitesse Arnhem), Abu Mohammed (Stromgodest), Derek Boateng (FC Dnipro), Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille), Charles Takyi (FC St. Pauli).
The headache here will be to find the best players to play in the midfield. However Plavi lines his midfield up, it will appear that Plavi plans to play narrower than many expected. The exclusion of Albert Adomah and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie may cost Ghana the needed width and trickery which very often unlocks difficult games. Plavi claims Andre Ayew’s ability on the left flank is not in doubt but he does not stretch the game wide enough, could Derek Asamoah be the man to make the flanks Ghana’s greatest asset?. Apart from building his confidence for the future, I struggle to see the value young and potential-laden Abu Mohammed will bring on board. Same feelings go towards St. Pauli’s Charles Takyi. If I am to drop a player from midfield, it will be one of these two players.
Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Prince Tagoe (Bursaspor), Emmanuel Baffour (Edubiase FC), Jordan Ayew (Olympique Marseille)Derek Asamoah (Pohang Steelers)
We, the unrepentant proponents of the local league should be grateful for the inclusion of Emmanuel Baffour and will keep fingers crossed that he is given the chance to prove himself and that he grabs the opportunity when it is offered with both hands. But why do I get the sense Baffour will be dropped? I do not believe Prince Tagoe has the confidence and the form to represent Ghana. After a series of horrible performances for Ghana, he must bless his stars (or experience) for making the final squad because truth be told he has lost his shine. Jordan Ayew? Well, a few Ligue 1 goals have been his claim to fame, but we all know the lad must work even harder if he is given any chance to play.
In general, this team is strong and balanced enough to challenge for honours come January. Many people will find one or two of their favourite players in there and hence the support for the team should be high enough to drive them to glory.