Tag: Cup_of_African_Nations

Ghana Football Team: Ghana KO… but Why?

Let the inquest begin:

Zambia knock Ghana out of CAN 2012 !

I believe in the law of averages. So having seen Ghana go out of CAN 2008 at the semi-final stage, lose the final to Egypt two years later in 2010. Then surely 2012 would be the year Ghana go all the way and lift the cup? , Third time lucky and all that! well no actually, as yet again Ghana have come up short in a major tournament. I do also believe that since World Cup 2010 in South Africa Ghana have become victims of their own success whereby every time they take the pitch people expect miracles. Therefore average performances are over scrutinised by expectant fans, however I don’t think it was unrealistic to expect Ghana to reach the final or even win the competition with the players they have. So what went wrong this time? I’m afraid that question brings about more questions than answers.

Asamoah_Gyan__Christopher_Katongo_Me_FiRi_GHANA_dot_comIt felt a bit like the world cup 2010 all over. As again Asamoah Gyan was perceived to be the villain of the piece following his first half penalty miss. Many critics will say he chokes on the big occasion, but then you have to remember that he has also been the Black stars saviour many a time so to blame him solely is quite harsh, even though I did so initially, though is performances in the biggest games does come into question. Adam Kwaresey has also come in for some criticism during the campaign in what was his first major tournament in goal. I don’t think he can be at all blamed for Zambia’s winning goal which was a corker. The ironic thing about the match is that attacking wise Ghana played some of their best football. As it is fair to say they had not been at their best throughout the tournament notably against Botswana and Tunisia, but they still could not score the vital goal. Therein lies the problem for me and it is problem that can be traced right back to 2006 when Ghana exited CAN at the group stage. For all the talent we have in Midfield the same cannot be said of the striking department.

Thus I think the success at world cup only served to cover up this issue and our over reliance on Gyan for goals has become apparent over the years. You only have to watch Ghana at their best to see how many chances the midfield create, however they don’t score enough goals to compliment this especially on the big occasions. For all the chances Blackstars create they should really be finding the net a lot more often. If you compare the Ivory Coast, as well as Drogba, Solomon Kalou and Gervinho’s scoring records are not too bad at all. This can help ease the burden on Drogba, indeed Drogba reacted to his penalty miss against Equatorial Guinea by scoring a brilliant individual goal 5 minutes later.

How the Blackstars could do with an out and out striker who finds the net as regularly as Drogba does. Even a striker to play alongside Gyan to ease the burden, Dominic Adiyah (who was not included in the squad) looked like he could be that person at one time, more recently it has looked like Jordan Ayew but for all his talent I’m not convinced he can score regularly. If we can find two strikers that can work in tandem then I would like to see the manager to change the formation to 4-4-2. Our midfield is capable enough to make this work. Meanwhile the inquest into Ghana’s latest disappointment begins.

So what are your thoughts on the points raised above and the game itself? Should Gyan continue to be the teams penalty taker ? and importantly where do the Blackstars go from here? Remember this is not just a time to criticize and show frustration but also to come up with realistic suggestions the Blackstars can implement to move forward, improve and finally win that elusive trophy, for now the wait continues.

Leave your comments below?

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

CAN 2012 Match Report: Ghana Blackstars

Mixed fortunes for Mensah as Ghana labour to 1-0 win over Botswana

African_Cup_of_Nations_Ghana_Football_Team_Me_FiRi_GHANAThe Blackstars kicked off their CAN 2012 campaign with what was in the end a hard fought victory over CAN debutants Botswana in which they played most the second half with 10 men in Franceville. Ghana started unsurprisingly with Asamoah Gyan and Jordan Ayew up front with Sulley Muntari and Andre Ayew tasked with providing the creativity from midfield. Meanwhile for Botswana, Jerome Ramatlhakwane was leading their line but a notable absentee from their line up was influential midfielder Diphetogo “Dipsy” Selolwane who was unfortunatly for them was suspended.

For those who don’t know Ghana and Botswana are ranked as two of the most “peaceful” countries in Africa, but there was nothing peaceful about the start as a number of crunching tackles came in from Botswana. Ghana started well enough and were playing the ball around comfortably in the early stages. Full-backs, Inkoom and Painstil, were operating pretty much as wingers but still Ghana could not find a way through the well-marshalled Botswana defence.

Then came the goal! With John Mensah burying an in-swinging corner from close range. Skipper Mensah evaded his marker and Gyan helped the ball along nicely with the deftest of flicks at the near post. A well worked Ghana goal. At this point Ghana looked comfortable with the two Ghana frontmen Gyan and Jordan Ayew are linking up well. Subsequently just before half time Gyan broke into the Botswana box from the right, before firing one wide of the near post. A decent chance missed.

So to the second half and the Blackstars looked to pick up where they left off in the first half. Early on Gyan was making some great runs out wide, on the left this time. Then came the pivotal point in the match when goal scorer and captain Mensah was forced into a last ditch tackle as Ramatlhakwane is put clean through. Unfortunately it was a foul and earnt him a red card for bringing the striker down on the edge of the box. Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic reacted by substituting Sulley Muntari and bringing on defender Jonathan Mensah.

From here on in Ghana were forced to protect their lead. Botswana were surging forward regularly and the Blackstars were happy to let them have possession in less dangerous areas. Occasionally Ghana threatened on the counter attack with Anthony Annan going close after a great flick on from Gyan. However Ghana held on for a professional victory.

A lot of observers were hoping for an impressive performance from Ghana to justify their billing as one of the favourites for the cup. However at this early stage of the competition a win is a win.

What are your thoughts on Ghana’s opening match? Leave comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

African Cup of Nations: Ghana to win…

The Challenge that awaits the Blackstars at CAN 2012

The African Nations Cup 2012 kicks off on 21 January in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Ghana have been installed by bookmakers and football experts as joined favourites to win the tournament. Thus hopes our high that this year could be the year that the Blackstar’s finally land their first African title since 1982.

Ghana_Football_Team_African_Cup_of_Nations_Me_FiRi_GHANA_dot_comHowever we all know that in Football that to underestimate your opponents can be perilous. So who will Ghana need to beat to get their hands on the trophy? Well one would assume to win the tournament the Blackstars will need to beat Didier Drogba & co (Ivory Coast), but who knows we may not even play them. First things first though, and Ghana will need get through their group before we can even think about winning the Cup. 

We have been drawn in Group D alongside Guinea, Mali and Botswana.

Guinea_National_FlagGuinea: Guinea finished top of Group B during the qualifying campaign, edging out giants Nigeria as well as Ethiopia and Madagascar. The Guineans went unbeaten in the process, winning four and drawing two matches. The Syli Nationale (as they are known) defeated Nigeria in Conakry and drew the all-important return clash in Abuja to ensure that the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the finals. Their star player is Ismael Bangoura. He has scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for the Syli Nationale, and will be making his second appearance in the Afcon

Mali_National_Football_Team_FlagMali: Composed essentially of young and unknown players, Mali were able to scramble a ticket for the 2012 Afcon after gathering three wins, two losses and a draw in Group A against obstinate challenges from Cape Verde, Zimbabwe and Liberia. A slim three-goal difference handed the Eagles top spot in the group. Their Star player is Seydou Keita, the Barcelona midfielder has been deemed by the Mali FA as an indispensable member of the squad. His return after quitting the set-up following the 2010 washout in Angola has transformed the struggling team. His defensive input and ball distribution will be invaluable to Mali.

botswana-flagBotswana: The Zebras were the first team to secure a place at the 2012 Afcon after finishing top of Group K, which included Chad, Tunisia, Malawi and Togo. This will be their first time at the finals, and they made their intentions for the tournament clear by defeating Tunisia 1-0 home and away while also beating Togo 2-1 in Gaborone. Their star player is Jerome Ramtlhakwane, the talented striker has played in the South African PSL for Santos and Vasco da Gama. His goal poaching skills saw him being courted by English League Two club Bradford City, but the deal fell through. His solitary goal in Botswana’s 1-0 win over Chad ensured their first ever Afcon qualification

If (or should I say when!J) Ghana do make it out of their group they will face the winners or runners-up of Group C (Gabon, Tunisia, Morocco or Niger) depending on whether the blackstars finish first or second in their group.

There will be sterner challenges ahead for Ghana as the tournament progresses. But in the Black Stars we trust!

Leave any comments below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Ghana Football Team: 25 Man Squad…

Coach Pavi names his 25-man Blackstar Squad

Ghana National team coach, Goran Stevanovic names his Ghana 23 to represent @ AFCON2012

Here is the official 23 man list name and squad numbers as they seek to end their 30 year drought;

1 – Daniel Agyei

2 – Daniel Opare

3 – Asamoah Gyan

4 – John Paintsil

5 – John Mensah

6 – Anthony Annan

7 – Samuel Inkoom

8 – Agyemang Badu

9 – Derek Boateng

10 – Andre Ayew

11 – Sulley Muntari

12 – Prince Tagoe

13 – Jordan Ayew

14 – Masahudu Alhassan

15 – Isaac Vorsah

16 – Adam Kwarasey

17 – Lee Addy

18 – Jonathan Mensah

19 – Charles Takyi

20 – Kwadwo Asamoah

21 – John Boye

22 – Ernest Sowah

23 – Mohammed Abu

Coach Pavi has submitted his 23-man list for AFCON2012 to Confederation of African football (CAF) on Wednesday.

The two man that where axed form the squad are;
New Edubuiase striker Emmauel Baffoe and South Korean based striker, Derek Asamoah.
They have both returned to their respective club teams.

Tournament debuts:
Derek Boateng, Adam Kawarsey, Charles Takyi, Ernest Sowah, Mohammed Abu, John Boye, Daniel Opare, Jordan Ayew

Andre Ayew will don the famous #10 his father wore 30 years ago when Ghana won their last nation’s cup.

Jordan Ayew will don his brother’s old number #1, as they keep it in the family.

When the Ayew brother’s line up for 1st time at AFCON2012 they will be the 1st family to all play for the Ghana national side at the African Cup of Nations (dad, bothers, and sons)

Abedi Pele {AFCON-1982}
Andre Ayew & Rahim Ayew {AFCON-2010}
Andre Ayew & Jordan Ayew {AFCON- 2012}

Kwadawo Asamoah has given up #10 to wear the #20 instead. He feels that a pressure will be lifted off him and wants to respect this history behind the jersey.

Ghanaian-Norwegian goalkeeper will make his debut at the African Cup of nation’s tournament and will wear the #16 jersey.

Ghanaian midfielder, Michael ESSIEN will miss the tournament due his knee injury and won’t be able to cover effectively in time.

The Nations Cup run begins for Nkrumah’s boys on Tues. January 24th v. Botswana

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Ghanaian Football: Black Stars Star Retires…

KPB Retirement at 24 to damage Black Stars ?

I have to admit when I first heard this news I was not that surprised. In fact in my last blog post (of 02 November 2011-Black Stars handed tricky draw for CAN 2012). I questioned the fact as to whether KPB would even be in the squad for CAN such has been his absence from the Black stars team since the World Cup last year.

Kevin_Prince_BoatengBoateng’s retirement certainly came as shock to the Ghana FA though. GFA president Kwesi Nyantaki described Boateng’s retirement as a ‘devastating blow‘ to the country and went on to claim the midfielder’s decision to quit damages Ghana’s hopes of winning the Nations Cup. Nyantaki went on to say; “I am very, very surprised because I least expected something like that to happen especially at a time very close to the Nations Cup,””This comes at the time we were banking on the availability of all our key players, including Kevin, so this news came as a thunderbolt. It was not taken lightly at all. It really shook all of us to the core”.

So there were strong words from the GFA president on Boateng’s retirement. But what were his reasons for doing so. Well he has claimed that his decision was based on his injury record was behind his decision and the physical demands of playing for both club and country at high levels are taking a toll on his health. The more cynical amongst us will say he has turned his back on Ghana and rushed into the decision especially considering his young age in footballing terms. I have even heard accusations from some that Boateng used Ghana, when switched nationality last year to represent the Black Stars, just to secure more profile for himself and for an opportunity to play on the biggest stage i.e. world cup.

Whatever the real reasons behind his decision the Black Stars will move on. His decision does not leave Ghana lacking in the Midfield department. As youngsters Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew as well as Michael Essien, Anthony Annan and Sulley Muntari are still available for the national team.

Ultimately Boateng’s retirement is a blow for the Black Stars. Simply because he is a good player and has been in good form for his club side AC Milan in Italy this season but Boateng has hardly featured for the Black Stars since the World Cup last year so I guess the writing on the wall.

Let us know your thoughts below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Kwesi Nyantaki