Are the Black Stars in Decline?
It’s been over a month since Ghana were acrimoniously dumped out of CAN 2013 by Burkina Faso. Since then coach Kwesi Appiah has been fiercely criticised by the media and fomer players alike – the Ayew brothers have announced their ‘temporary’ retirement from international football and left back John Pantsil found himself in trouble with the law.
There is no doubt the Black Stars are among the best teams in Africa but how long will that last? The dizzying heights of World Cup 2010 are now in the past and with the retirement of Jordan and Andre Ayew the team has lost two very good attacking options at a crucial time. What is more worrying is that the Ayew brothers have joined an illustrious list of Ghanaian players who have decided on an “early retirement”. Michael Essien, Kevin Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and now the Ayew brothers are among Ghana’s best players to have made this decision. So you have to ask the question, is the Ghanaian FA doing enough to support the players and more importantly, how many more will decide on this course of action?
Of the current crop of players like Wakaso Mubarak and Christian Atsu who have impressed, there are serious questions over the team as a whole being able to deliver on the biggest occasions. Ghana’s elimination at the semi final stage against Burkina Faso at this year’s CAN was bitterly disappointing not least because with the Ivoirians already out this was arguably the Black stars best opportunity to win it in recent years.
Asamoah Gyan looks a shadow of his former self whilst Kwado Asamoah, a man of whom much was expected had a disappointing tournament. Now Ghana who go into a huge World Cup qualifier against Sudan on March 24 do so against the backdrop of off field troubles and huge pressure.
The Black stars are in desperate need of three points as they look to close the gap on group D leaders Zambia, who have a three point advantage with only group winners qualifying for the final round of qualification. Whilst it’s still early days the thought of Ghana not qualifying is unthinkable.
Kwesi Appiah has named his squad to face Sudan and recalled AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari whilst Emmanuel Frimpong of Fulham has been given his first cap. Alsi returning to the squad are Abdul Majeed Waris, who recently signed to Russian giants Spartak Moscow and Democratic Republic of Congo-based defender Yaw Frimpong.
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals).
Defenders: Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Yaw Frimpong (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Richard Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Baba Abdul Rahman (Greuther Furth, Germany), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa)
Midfielders: Emmanuel Frimpong (Fulham, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Christian Atsu (FC Porto, Portugal), Wakaso Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England)
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), David Accam (Helsingborg, Sweden), Mahatma Otoo (Hearts of Oak)
It’s make or break time for Ghana. Do you think they have what it takes to get through this difficult period or is this beginning of a downward spiral for the Black Stars?
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)