Kwesi Appiah speaks: Essien and Asamoah to provide defensive cover in Brazil

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has hinted at a decision to use midfielders Michael Essien and Kwadwo Asamoah at center back and left back respectively to make up for the deficiency in Ghana’s defensive numbers for the World Cup in Brazil.

Appiah dropped Leicester City left-back Jeffrey Schlupp alongside the injured Turkey-based center back Jerry Akaminko from the squad last week, reducing the number of defenders to just six — three central defenders and three full-backs.

Following much public criticism and a general expression of worry concerning the lack of depth in numbers, Appiah has come out to give his reasons for risking it, in the process revealing his plans to use the duo of Essien and Asamoah in defence.

‘It’s always important that when you are going for such competitions, you pick players who can play in different positions. You don’t pick players who are competent in playing in only one position. Talking about central defence, we have three central defenders there and then we have Essien, who can also play in that role,’ Appiah told Ghanaian pressmen in Miami, Florida, where the Black Stars are currently camping.

‘Talking about the left-full backs as well, we have Kwadwo Asamoah, who can also play at the left- back as well as Harrison, Opare and Inkoom. At the same time, we have some midfielders, who can play in the full-back positions. It’s always important to have players, who are versatile and play in several positions,” he added.

Michael Essien started out his career as a center back, and indeed despite being a defensive midfielder, he has been used in central defense many times over the years both at club and international level. Kwadwo Asamoah on the other hand regularly plays at left-wing back for his club Juventus, and was used by Appiah as a left back for Ghana at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The Black Stars, who are in Group G of the World Cup which kicks off on June 12, will play their final preparatory game on Monday against South Korea in Miami [June 9], before jetting off to Brazil ahead of their tournament opener against the USA in Natal on June 16.

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