A day after the Black Stars lost their game against the United States of America (USA) at the group stage of the World Cup tournament, the blame game has begun.
While some fans blamed the coach for technical incompetence, others also pointed accusing fingers at the players for lack of concentration, resulting in the Black Stars conceding a goal 29 seconds into the game.
Coach Kwasi Appiah and one of his charges have also expressed divergent opinions about the Ghana-USA match.
While Coach Appiah said his charges lost concentration, Kevin-Prince Boateng said Coach Appiah’s strategies and tactics were not good enough.
The Black Stars declared a state of emergency immediately after their 1-2 defeat to the USA and headed straight from the stadium to the airport to fly back to Maceio to prepare for Germany in their next Group G game on Saturday.
Confusion was the mood in camp moments after the match and the team officials decided not to sleep in Natal but travel to their Maceio base to strategise on the way forward.
Kwesi Appiah speaks
Coach Appiah has admitted that his team paid dearly for their loss of concentration, which handed the USA a 2-1 victory over the Black Stars.
Speaking at a post-match press conference, he said Clint Dempsey’s goal took his team by surprise and affected his tactics, saying, “At this level we cannot make these errors and it worried us. It was a lapse in concentration. I never expected the game to end this way.”
He also revealed that he was not surprised by the way the USA approached the match and admitted that the loss had made an already hard group even harder.
“The USA was not going to be easy and I had said it before. I am not surprised by the way they played. It is important to win or draw your first game and it is sad we lost. But we have two more games to play. We played well and created chances we did not take. They took theirs,” he said.
For his part, Kevin-Prince Boateng said he deserved to have started the game but he came on in the 59th minute to replace Jordan Ayew.
“I am surprised I did not start. I know that you always start with your strong team, but maybe the coach had a different idea,” he told the media after the match.
Sharing his thoughts on the Ghana-USA match, a veteran football administrator, Jonathan Abbey Pobee, told the Daily Graphic that the current generation of Black Stars players needed a top-class coach because the dynamics of football had changed.
He said the appointment of a top-class coach was necessary, since that coach’s demands could be met by the players, many of whom plied their trade in Europe.
He added that much as he was not totally against the appointment of a local coach, Appiah should have nominated a top-class foreign coach to assist him but he failed to do so.
Mr Pobee questioned the extension of Coach Appiah’s contract for two more years when he was yet to deliver at the World Cup in Brazil and advised that the technical committee of the team must liaise with the coach in his selection and decisions in the remaining matches of the Black Stars.
Former player of Black Stars
A former player of the Black Stars, Abdul Razak, for his part, regretted that Coach Appiah continued carrying out experiments with his players and said as a coach, he must have his first 11 players even before the commencement of the tournament.
According to Razak, since the team Appiah used against South Korea won 4-0, he could have started that team against the USA and varied his tactics during the game.
The former African Footballer of the Year advised Coach Appiah to tighten the midfield in his next match and introduce more experienced players, including Kwadwo Asamoah upfront to beef up the attack.
Razak, one-time the coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, also called on the Stars to throw in everything against Germany in their next match, stressing, “It is not over for the Black Stars yet.”
Meanwhile, not everybody is calling for the head of the Black Stars coach.
The Coach of Cape Coast Ebusua Dwarfs, J. E. Sarpong, described the Ghana-USA clash as a tight encounter and said although the Black Stars put up a good performance, the Americans were tactically superior.
He advised the team to refrain from apportioning blame and finding faults and rather psyche themselves up and prepare psychologically against Germany in their next match.
However, from the perspective of some football fans, the blame must be placed squarely on the doorstep of the coach.
“We have to blame Appiah because he kept the experienced players on the bench and used the young players and that led to our fall,” Grande Amoako said.
Ebenezer Obeng–Tieku shared a similar view, saying, “The coach must shoulder the blame, since he selected those he deemed fit to start the game and the position each player should play on the field.”
“We knew about the weakness in the Black Stars central defence before the game and it came to haunt us,” Felix Kweku Khaled, another fan, lamented.
However, other football fans were of the opinion that the players lost concentration after the USA had scored their first goal 29 seconds into the game.
News of player revolt
At the time of going to press, there were reports that some senior players were plotting a revolt against Coach Appiah but it was said that FA officials had stepped in to resolve the problem.
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