Matters arising: 3 things we learned from Holland v Ghana
Red alert: Ghana’s got huge issues at the back
We probably saw it coming, but facing quality opposition has shown us how mediocre our defense can get. The Akaminko-Sumaila partnership might’ve worked against Egypt in the first leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff in Kumasi, but that was because the Egyptians had a bad day at the office upfront.
Back in Egypt for the second leg, their shakiness was exposed amid the intense pressure of the Egyptians’ sharpness and quickness upfront, and tonight, against the Dutch, it proved to be a risky partnership once more. The bad news is that John Boye and Jonathan Mensah – widely looked at as Ghana’s safest bet for a central defensive pairing – haven’t played alongside each other long enough to inspire confidence in the Ghanaian football fan. To make it worse, John Boye has been poor in a Stars’ jersey over the last year or so, and Jonathan Mensah is just coming off the back of an underwhelming season in France.
Kwesi Appiah will really have to work some magic in the heart of his defense, else Ghana will be on an early flight back from Brasilia after our last group game against the Germans.
The battle against the drop gets interesting
Look, Samuel Inkoom and Albert Adomah have blown too many chances to show Ghanaians that they are all that. That is the truth. And it might be bitter to many, but if Kwesi Appiah wants to be honest with himself, then these two should not be on the flight to Brazil. The only way they can be justified is if the coach sees their abilities as beneficial to his style of play, but what at all could those abilities be that no one else seems to see?
Away from that, Jeffrey Schlupp didn’t do his chances of beating the drop much good with his output on the day. He looked too green, too ordinary at times too. After the first warm up game in Accra, there were mixed feelings regarding him, and there was a general feeling that perhaps a second look at him would give a clearer picture. Well, unfortunately, the picture is clearer now, but not pretty. Perhaps he is not ready for the big time yet.
Rashid Sumaila was long considered the majority’s sure bet to be dropped, and Kwesi Appiah probably handed him full ninety minutes to beat the odds. His performance wasn’t that solid, unfortunately, as he was caught out to many times. His positioning and movement were suspect too, and he seemed lost amid the intelligent movement of the Dutch attacking machinery.
It was also surprising that David Accam, also widely rumoured to be dropped, wasn’t given a run out to assess him after a fairly nervous performance from him in the first warm up game. Is he going to be dropped after being denied another chance as was given to all the other probable candidates? Would be very unfair, surely.
But, in all this, Akaminko’s last minute injury (it didn’t look good at all, and hopefully, he recovers soon) could change Kwesi Appiah’s dropping plans tremendously. Does it make it simpler or harder for Appiah? Well, we wait to see, but what we do know for sure is that some players will surely get off the hook.
What’s up with Kwadwo?
What happened to Kwadwo Asamoah? He has often been hailed as Ghana’s best and most consistent player, but have all these accolades seen their manifestation whilst he’s in a Ghana shirt? That is hugely doubtful.
He has incredibly mellowed over the last few years and his influence in games has dimmed noticeably. There seems to be a gradual slump into obscurity, and it raises a lot of worry.
The contrast in roles in his club and national team seems to have done him more harm than good. He seems to have lost all the explosiveness, creativity and skillfulness that characterized his talent when he burst unto the scene with Ghana. Now, Asamoah looks too normal within the Ghana set-up. He has been reduced to safe passing and some occasional dummies. That’s it, and it’s sad. It’s sad because his skill-set suggests that he is supposed t be outstanding. He is so much more than he currently gives, and Ghanaians know it.
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