By: Michael Oti Adjei
It’s been a while since the Black Stars savoured anything resembling a win. After the high of thumping Egypt 6-1 to lay the marker and practically seal one of the five places available to the continent at the 214 world cup, everything seems to have gone into slow motion for Kwesi Appiah’s side.
Things need to get back into more progressive motion now then. With exactly a week before Ghana opens her 2014 world cup account in Natal against the USA, the Black Stars face South Korea not exactly desperate or in dire need for a win. But a win will still do magnificent things for the team’s confidence.
Some countries set up their world cup preparations in such a way that they scored and won games for confidence. It is Brazil’s sure bet way of preparing for major tournaments so they are buzzing after thumping Panama in their last trial match. France smoked Jamaica for six and Cameroon invited Moldova over and had them set up nicely for the perfect departure boost.
Ghana’s approach has been different maybe largely we have folded our arms and waited for the games to come. In striking similarities before the last world cup in South Africa we lost the first warm up game against Holland. Unlike before the last tournament, this was a much more decent display. And like before the last world cup, Appiah will be hoping South Korea is our Latvia this time.
The small problem is the Koreans have never been easy to beat given their status as regular campaigners at this level. Maybe it has influenced Appiah’s decision to prioritise other things above a win.
“We will put up a good team for everyone to enjoy the game. We hope that we don’t get any injuries, both sides, so that we all go to the World Cup with hundred percent fit players,”
Top of that priority list he says is the hope that the side comes out of the game intact and without injuries. Thin on defensive cover after losing Jerry Akaminko, Appiah will be desperate not to lose anyone again in a period when too many players have been crocked at the vital moment.
Beyond that too he has other concerns including how his team shows against Korea that they can play together more as a team and can cope with dealing with the quality of opposition that USA, Germany and Portugal offer.
“At the end, it’s about how we approach the whole game. Tactically, that’s my main concern,” Appiah said. “The Korea game is our last friendly and it’s important that we look at our team how we play tactically, and the individual roles that we have given to the players, how they perform and lastly we try and make sure that we can get a result.’
Appiah is likely to give as many players who did not start against the Netherlands a chance to make their case and there is reason to believe a lot of those will be favourite to start in a week’s time too.
Asamoah Gyan will return to lead the line with Majeed Warris in tow. There are suggestions he will play the central defensive pair of Jonathan Mensah and John Boye while trying out Kwadwo Asamoah at left back as he seeks a short term solution to the most problematic position in Ghana football.
After watching Adam Kwarasey state his strongest possible case to be first choice against the Netherlands, Fatau Dauda will have an opportunity to make his own claim.
Everywhere you look on the field there are issues to be settled. South Korea may not provide all the answers but the pointers will be precious leading up to the showdown against the USA in Natal next week.
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