Opinion: Godfred’s AFCON diary

Entry December 4, 2015
Jamie Lawrence is a valuable addition
The announcement of Jamie Lawrence as the physical trainer of the black Stars on a seven week contract was a personal victory for me after almost a year of harping on the inadequacies of assistant coach Maxwell Konadu in performing the function. The body of a footballer is unique and requires specialised care and a structured work out. Lawrence has brought that in the past week with his unique fitness regimen that has even the players admitting that this is something that they needed.

Gerard Nus will grow in influence
The Ghana Football Association(GFA) have tagged him as a video analyst but the Spaniard is proving to be a little more than that. He obviously has the trust and ears of manager Avram Grant and has ran the various drills the Israeli has implemented so far at training. Maxwell Konadu might be the official assistant but the former Brighton and Hove Albion player is the unofficial right hand man.I have no complaints though. He is a fully qualified coach with a background in television as well so communication is not a problem.

The intensity of training is brutal
I was very keen to be present for Avram Grant’s first infield session with his team.I wanted to observe the body language of the players and their response on the pitch and I was not disappointed. There is very little of the training ground jokes and commentary that were the norm previously as the players attacked their drills with seriousness. An eleven aside training match between the players at the Karl Reindorf Park in Dansoman showed an aggression in play and tackle that was scary and refreshing at the same time. Edwin Gyimah and Jonathan Mensah were certainly taking no prisoners. Just ask Mahatma Otoo. Hopefully they keep this up.

Solomon Asante could be a major factor at the AFCON

The TP Mazembe star is the smallest man on the field but is showing heights of confidence that are amazing. His impressive club form seems to have refined his usual industry. His dribbles are now more productive and he scored a smashing solo goal that had the entire team applauding.I think he might be unfancied but he could become the play maker that the team currently lacks.

Kwesi Appiah IS a FOURTH tier player
It might be too early to judge but watching him for two days I am far from convinced about the quality of the Crystal Palace striker. Maybe it is new environment jitters or something else but it is very obvious he does not belong in the same class as the players he is training with. It is very obvious he is yet to play at the extremely high level several Black Stars players have operated at. He lacks pace and has shown very little industry or striking instinct to convince me he is at the requisite level to play for the national team. Time will tell but I say cut him and recall him when he performs at a higher level.

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