The Black Stars of Ghana faces a tough World Cup group (G) in Brazil. The USA, Germany and Portugal must be overcome by the Black Stars in their quest to make a statement of intent at the tournament.
But Ghana doing so well will be dependent on a tactical question that lay in wait. Ghana has quality players and strength in depth but the worry will be about the two central midfielders picked to start a game.
Additionally, Ghana having strength in depth mean some star players will have to accept to be on the bench whole heartedly for a colleague or what one means to say a ‘younger’ colleague.
This analysis is centered on an ideal 4-4-2, i.e. a system that Kwasi Appiah had employed in the qualifiers.
At the 2006 World Cup, Ghana had Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah as the central pair. In the South Africa 2010 World Cup, Coach Milovan Rajevac relied on Anthony Annan and KP Boateng to let his central midfield function.
Come 2014, Ghana may have the luxury of Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, KP Boateng, Rabiu Mohammed, Anthony Annan and Agyemang Badu to choose from. The names are self sufficient for any team but the testing time will be on the pitch.
Who will Kwasi Appiah prefer to start at the base of midfield (orthodox 6)? Will it be Michael Essien or Rabiu Mohammed who is just back from injury be starting ahead of his senior colleague who may have to watch proceedings from the bench. The last time Rabiu started ahead of Essien in Ghana’s World Cup qualifier game against Zambia in Kumasi, he (Rabiu) was jittery, pundits pointed at his senior colleague, Essien, being on the bench as the cause.
Will Kwasi Appiah, decide to include and start Anthony Annan who he visited on his recent tour in Europe? Annan excelled at the defensive midfield role for Ghana at the last World Cup so he may get the nod to protect the back four.
If Kwasi Appiah selects the defensive midfielder, Essien; who will Appiah choose as the offensive midfielder? Will the coach decide to partner Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari who fostered a good partnership in the first leg of the play – off against Egypt in Kumasi but were way below par in the return leg in Cairo?
At AC Milan Clarent Seedorf has not liked the idea of pairing Essien and Muntari at his midfield. What the AC Milan gaffer does is to let one start a game with the other on the bench. Both players are intelligent passers of the ball but lack the combativeness that the role demands hence, Seedorf prefers to have a combatant, Nigel De Jong, pairing one of them.
If Michael Essien pairing Muntari not to become an ideal choice; and Anthony Annan or Rabiu is picked to start a game as a defensive midfielder, Kwasi Appiah will have to choose either Essien or Muntari to partner Annan or Rabiu but then what happens to KP Boateng who is also a good passer of the ball and can run from deep central midfield to surprise the opponent? Will KP Boateng be on the bench or will be given a different role?
The quality in the Black Stars’ team cannot be doubted but who starts at the base of midfield and who pairs offensively will be one big midfield tactical question that waits Ghana. Finding the balance is key for Black Stars in Brazil!
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