Kwasi Appiah, head coach of the Ghana Black Stars, has come under intense fire for the defeat suffered by the Ghanaian national team during their first match with the United States which took place Monday evening in the ongoing FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.
The 2-1 defeat has been blamed by Ghanaian football fans and critics on ‘technical bankruptcy’ of the Black Stars coach.
Fans are questioning his technical competence. In the run-up to the World Cup, Kwasi Appiah had his contract renewed for another two-year term by the Ghana Football Association (GFA).
He started his 11-man line-up, excluding key and influential players such as Kevin Prince Boateng and Michael Essien – two potent attacking midfielders whose presence could have changed the outcome of the game.
“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,” Kelvin Prince Boateng, who plays professional football for German side Schalke 04, told the media after the match.
Defending his decision not to start two of his most important players, coach Appiah indicated that he was assuming that the US team would tire out by the second half then he could bring in these high impact players to further wreck havoc on the exhausted US team.
“I believe the young guys who played did well and my intention was to bring the others on when the US team got tired but these things happen,” he told journalists immediately after the match.
“But that is suicidal,” Christopher Opoku, a football analyst indicated. “Using your weak team to get your opponent tired is not done,” he added, stressing that he was ‘shocked’ by the decision.
As it turned out, the US team failed to wear out in the second half, causing the plan of the Ghanaian coach to backfire.
The later inclusion of Essien and Kevin Boateng made little impact to combat the US rampage that saw an early goal, approximately 32 seconds after the whistle for the start of the game. The game was sealed when the US substitute, John Brooks, headed in the winning goal after 86 minutes into the game. The Black Stars only managed to pull one goal out.
Christopher Opoku on Tuesday told Joy FM that he was convinced the game was lost from the bench and criticised the coach for several poor decisions. “I might sound controversial and very blunt, but the game was lost from the bench,” he charged.
He blamed the coach’s selection of defenders who let two goals from the Americans slip through, adding that a prolific midfielder like Kwadwo Asamoah was placed as a defender.
“We were playing at this high level, any little mistake can cost you dearly…the early goal was something that we never expected. Playing at this high level, any loss of concentration can cost the team big time. I believe the first goal really unsettled us a little bit,” Kwasi Appiah explained.
The coach conceded making some wrong calls during the game, saying: “We would try and make amends and do all the corrections before our next game.”
Having lost their first game in the group described as the ‘Group of death,’ the Black Stars are hoping to make amends by winning their remaining games against Portugal and Germany.
Ghana and USA have had a long running rivalry with the former sinking the latter’s aim of advancing in a World Cup final on two consecutive occasions – the 2006 and 2010 World Cup tournaments in Germany and South Africa respectively.
Soccer Fans Stopped
Following the defeat of the Ghanaian team, government appears to have cancelled plans to airlift more soccer fans to Brazil to cheer the Black Stars up.
The over 100 fans stranded at the Kotoka International Airport for the past couple of days, would have to go back home and watch the games on television.
About 500 fans who were successfully airlifted to Brazil are also said to be stranded and without accommodation after arriving in that country.
A member of the World Cup Committee, Kwadwo Adu Asare, former NDC MP, told Asempa Sports that the cancellation of the sponsored trip was due to accommodation challenges facing the fans in Brazil.