The Senior National Soccer Team, the Black Stars of Ghana, have so far been on an inconsistent run since their appalling performance at the 2014 FIFA World cup. So far the team has struggled to keep its performance at a stable level. The team, after struggling to regain the support of the nation following series of incidents that dented the image of the nation at the World Cup, has failed to live up to expectations. I shall, in this piece, critically assess the performance of the team so far, as well as touch on some relevant issues.
The team has engaged in 5 matches since its loss to Portugal in the World Cup. The journey started with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Uganda in Kumasi followed by a hard fought 3-2 victory over Togo in Lome. The next game was the game against Guinea which had to be played in Casablanca owing to the “Ebola situation in Guinea”. The game ended one all. The return encounter which took place in Tamale, an unfamiliar venue for the Black Stars in recent times, offered the Stars the opportunity to regain the support of the whole Nation. The teeming Tamale fans spurred the Stars to an interesting 3-1 win over Guinea. The team then put up an uninspiring display against Uganda in Kampala to lose by a goal to nil.
The team has been led by stop-gap coach Maxwell Konadu with the exception of the first two games which was handled by former Boss James Akwasi Appiah. Some Ghanaians are still confused as to whether Appiah was axed owing to the happenings in Brazil or on the Basis of performance (4points from possible 6). Interim coach Konadu has led the team to gain 4 points from a possible 9 points with the Togo game expected to decide whether Ghana will partake in 2015 Afcon or not.
The recent goalkeeping crisis of the Stars is worth pointing out. So far, 3 Goalkeepers have been used in the 5 matches. This problem must be critically assessed by Avram Grant once he signs a contract as the next coach of the Stars. It is worthwhile to note that the Team has conceded 6 goals in the 5 matches. Two of the Three Goalkeepers have virtually been inactive since the world cup ended.
The team has scored eight (8) goals in the five (5) matches with all-time top scorer Gyan on target three times while Andre Ayew and Agyemang Badu both have two goals with Christian Atsu on Target once. The team has so far had problems with its strikers upfront. With the exception of Last Saturday’s game, the team had started most of the previous games with a two prong attack with Jordan Ayew and Asamoah Gyan being the Arrow head. Gyan has been on target while J.Ayew is yet to find the back of the net. Waris has also made some few cameo appearances leaving much to be desired. The boots of Gyan seemed too big to be filled by Waris as he struggled in the game against the Cranes. The quality of the midfield might have been a problem as well.
The way forward
As the team prepares to take on Togo on Wednesday, the players need to be at their best to secure qualification for next year Afcon. The coach must also revise his tactics, the defensive approach we started with against the cranes playing Andre, Badu, Acquah, Atsu and Rabiu must be revised. Accam who came on to show glimpses of brilliance could be deployed upfront to partner Waris or better still Jordan Ayew who returns from suspension. Badu who was not impressive could be dropped to the bench. Solomon Asante I believe ought to start ahead of Atsu whose lack of playing time at club level seems to have affected his performance. The Stars must indeed shine on Wednesday.