Having been away for a while and I deem it necessary to mark a timely return with my opinion on the 26-man squad released by coach James Kwesi Appiah for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
I have since Monday heard several interpretations on the list and as a budding sports journalists, I think it is just appropriate to also state my case otherwise I will not be counted.
So I asked myself, whether each of the 26 invited players indeed deserve a call in the team? From the goalkeeping department and I sincerely think apart from Fatau Dauda, who has not had adequate action in recent times due to his inactivity in the South African league, the two others have been active for their respective teams hence deserves the call up. Sincerely I think Dauda was fortunate to have been invited.
For Stephen Adams, it’s obvious his heroic performance at the 2014 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) tournament in South Africa early this year, earned him the invitation, whilst Adam Kwarasey’s inclusion was purely based on his recent form in the Norwegian league. My only challenge is whether he will have the needed confidence that has eluded him in the post to deliver at the World Cup -the biggest football fiesta in the World.
I am tempted to say, we have no options in defence and all the invited players are indeed the possible options at our disposal and I doubt if the coach will attempt to drop any of them. However, it is my expectation that, Jeffery Schlup will provide the needed solution to the problematic left back situation in the team.
And just like defence, the midfield set up, is definitely the best of materials at our disposal, though the strength and age of some them have been called into question. And the references have been on our two key midfielders Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari who are obviously declining in form.
I cannot but agree with the coach on the choices made in attack, because these are tried, tested and proven players over the years and will be the nation’s best bet at the competition.
Surprises? Yes, I was surprised at the inclusion of David Accam, not because he is not a quality material, because there were no indications of his possible call up days before Monday. He remained the only player whose name never appeared in any of the speculated lists days ahead of the press conference.
As to whether he will make it into the final squad, remains my greatest worry though he has been in the best of shapes in the Swedish league, but I doubt if he will be able to beat off competition from Gyan, Prince Boateng and Warris.
I have never been a fan of Jordan Ayew and may opt for Accam instead of the younger brother of Andre Ayew.
The local league factor…I was asked whether the inclusion of only one local league players was an indictment on the Ghana Premier League and answer was a big No!
I sincerely believe it was a matter of competition and not where you compete. You should be good enough to merit a place in the league and so I am of the firm conviction that, each player was selected on competitive basis with no regards to where they ply their trade.
The absence of the local players in the 26-man squad to me has nothing to with the quality of the league but a demonstration of pure competition for a place in the national team.
Who should be dropped? If am given the opportunity to drop before the final assessment game in Netherlands, I will drop Albert Adomah, because I doubt if he has what it takes to perform on a stage like the world cup. He has never demonstrated any extra ordinary quality for me. I will be compelled to chop off Jordan Ayew though he has in recent times lifted up his performance in the French league but I doubt if he will be able to replicate that at the World Cup. Moreover, I have never liked his attitude on and off the field.
For Accam, to make it in the final 26 represents a great milestone in his career, but I sincerely believe, Warris, Prince Baoteng and Gyan are too huge competitions for him to overcome and must try his luck the next time.
I am tempted to believe Afriyie Acquah may be sacrificed by the technical team, not on the basis of form, but may be on the grounds of long service and stiff competition in midfield, but with card prone Rabiu Mohamed, out of form, Essien and Muntari, I think he should be maintained as a cover up for the team.
There is a saying that, every coach has his own philosophy of the game, and I sincerely believe every sports journalists also has his or her philosophy of the game and the views expressed are just a perfect reflection what my good self Affi “Brittania” Xorlali.
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