As a typical Ghanaian, football has been part of my diet for the longest time. I have lived through the healthy meals of age tournament victories and suffered the unhealthy droughts, which include not having won the African Nations Cup in forever. I won’t even mention Suarez. Ok I did. Anyways. This will be my first football blog post and what better time with a week to Ghana’s first game against the USA on the back of a huge 4-0 win against fellow participants South Korea.
On the face of it, 4-0 is a big score and rightly so. Having the striker third in the pecking order come off the bench to hit a hat trick is impressive. The River Jordan overflowed its banks and we can only hope the kid will keep improving especially in the next four weeks. Waris should hopefully be fine though.
However let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The players ceded a lot of initiative to the South Koreans and we have a lot of work to do in order to get in shape by the time our first match comes off.
Dauda wouldn’t start in goal for me; he looks too shaky and doesn’t command his defense. Anytime he flaps at a cross the average Ghana fan has to recite a prayer of sorts. I hope Kwaresey is ready for the task ahead. Dauda and Adams are solid backup.
The midfield was overran in the first half and I wonder if a defensive midfield combo of Asamoah/Essien, Essien/Rabiu or Essien/Muntari would work better than Muntari/Rabiu. In any case, we have a lot of depth in that area so it’s up to Appiah to pick what works best.
I am also not convinced about Kojo Asamoah starting in defense. His creativity gets lost at the back and a few times he was guilty of holding on to the ball near our penalty box. Recipe for disaster? Yes please. In competitive games you get punished beyond redemption.
Klinsmann has stated that beating Ghana is his priority. Since Cristiano Ronaldo also looks like he will be fit (our ‘witch-doctor’ doesn’t seem to have come through) we have to take Portugal more seriously than ever. Germany having a few key players injured or unfit (Reus, Gundogan, the Bender twins, Gomez) doesn’t change anything either. Their roster is deeper than the range of Manchester United’s 2013 and 2014 league positions. Simply put, there is no room for complacency.
The positive I take from the Korea game is the quality of players we have. Most of the 23 called up can do the job if called. This is one tournament where, bar Gyan, I think we can live with injuries and suspensions if we progress. This is unlike the previous World Cup appearances where we had a thin bench both times. Our preparations have not been the best, with two games (against 3-4 by our opponents), a reported trip to DC for a ‘state-lunch’) instead of heading to Brazil, and so on. But still we have the proverbial Ghanaian hope.
So as for the vim, it dey keke! Here’s to hoping Ghana does an excellent job at the World Cup.