Many Ghanaians were pessimistic about the chances of the Black Stars, due to the absence of the more experienced members of the team. The devastating injury to the captain of the team, Essien, further dampened the spirit of Ghanaians.
Memories of CAN 2006, where the Black Stars crashed out of the tournament after a painful defeat to Zimbabwe, when even a draw would have been sufficient to see her them through, perpetually haunted Ghanaians. However, the Young Black Stars defied the physical and psychological difficulties they had been through in the past couple of days to win the match one nil.
For their efforts, not only will the team be playing Angola on Sunday, each player will also be receiving an astonishing 30,000 dollars as winning bonus.
Below is how I rate each playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance against Burkina-Faso:
Richard Kingson: 7-DidnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really have much to do, however he showed enough composure to deny the Burkinabes on at least two occasions. He kept a clean sheet and seems to be regaining confidence after a disastrous campaign against Cote dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ivoire in the opening match.
Samuel Inkoom: 7.5- He persistently troubled the StallionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ defence with his incredible pace. He delivered a couple of crosses into the Burkina eighteen, one of which Dede Ayew expertly converted for the only goal of the match. Inkoom has also improved his defending tremendously; he did a yeomanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job to prevent Burkina danger man, Pitroipa from causing havoc.
Hans Adu Sarpei: 6- He did well to restore some sanity into the Black Stars defence. However, he struggled to keep up with PitroipaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pace. He defended pretty well, but couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t perform his auxiliary attacking role. He may sruggle if he comes up against a very pacy striker or winger.
Lee Arday: 7.5- The Bechem Chelsea man was a more that perfect replacement for Eric Addo. He was in terrific form for the Black Stars. The coach might have problems replacing him even when Eric Addo is fit.
Isaac Vorsah: 8- He is the rock in defence. He Kept Bamogo and Kone at bay throughout the match. He kept his line well and formed a formidable partnership with
Lee Arday. A class act.
Agyemang Badu: 6.5- A rather subdued performance from him though he tackled well and ran around a lot, he had difficulty holding unto the ball and delivering visionary passes. He was also a bit selfish, playing several shots from as far as thirty yards out. He plays like a typical defensive mid-fielder, but there is the need to add a bit more vision to his game.
Haminu Dramani: 7- He was guilty of missing too many chances, otherwise, he had a terrific game. He used his speed to his advantage and created lots of trouble for the Stallions. He really should have put some of the begging chances that fell to him away.
Kodwo Asamoah: 7.5- The overall responsibility of delivering incisive passes and pulling the strings in mid-field fell on him, and he delivered to the best of his ability. He held the ball pretty well and took the game to the Burkinabes. He exhibited strength and close control of the ball. He is arguably GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best player in the tournament so far.
Mattew Amoah: 6- A not too memorable performance put up by him. He had a couple of chances he could have converted but he failed to do so. This was a difficult game for Amoah and he would be worried about how he fared.
Asamoah Gyan: 6.5- He had a relatively better game than Amoah, though he was also guilty of wasting a couple of chances.
Dede Ayew: 8- He put his disastrous campaign against Cote dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ivoire behind him to emerge GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best player against Burkina-Faso. He scored the only goal of the match with a delightful header. He also fell back on numerous occasions to help in defending; great performance from the twenty year old.
Dominic Adiyah: 5- Showed flashes of brilliance.
Rahim Ayew: 5- He added steel to the mid-field.
Opoku Agyemang: He came on late into the game and couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be rated.
Milovan Rajavac: 7- Did well to motivate his young players. His selection and game plan worked perfectly for the Black Stars. He deserves special commendation for keeping faith in Dede Ayew who had a terrible day in the opening match against Cote dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ivoire.
Credit: Samuel K. Obour