FANS ARE SCEPTICAL OF SECOND WC APPEARANCE The Black Stars barren draw against Tunisia in Wednesday's international friendly at Ohene Djan has cringed a lot of fans into fears ahead of the 2010 qualifiers in the New Year. Nii Ayiteh Tetteh examines what went wrong.
What do you do when eagles soar above stars? Do you stop and behold the spectacle unfolding before your eyes, or dismiss it as mere illusion.
Would your reaction be any different as a Ghanaian from a Tunisian? The facts speak for themselves.
The match was expected to provide the two sides the avenue to test their battle readiness for the resumption of 2010 world cup qualifiers in the New Year.
Though it ended in a goalless draw, it was a useful exercise indeed with interesting revelations.
PATTERN OF PLAY
I don't remember the last time I saw a disjointed pattern of play by an assembly of players parading as the revered Black Stars of Ghana like I did last night.
Forgive my strong language but then again my sentiments encapsulate the general feeling of the average fan who thronged the stadium to support the Stars but left with long drawn faces.
The fluidity associated with the Ghanaian style of play was lacking as with cohesion and a clear pattern of play linking defence, midfield and attack.
The team simply failed to gel as the players seemed to struggle even weaving passes together.
The team clearly started out in a 4-4-2 formation with Jonathan Quartey and Eric Addo as centre-backs, John Paintsil or is it Pantsil and returnee Hans Adu Sarpei manning the right and left back respectively.
Out of the pack, it was only Jonathan Quartey who stood tall save his knack for overly hanging onto the ball when a simple touch was the better option.
Sarpei clearly showed signs of match rustiness and was aptly withdrawn midway through the second period.
Addo's long legs were good for the sliding tackles apart from which he didn't do much.
As for Paintsil, what else do you expect from a player who has virtually made the right back his private property in the last three years? A committed performance, but nothing special really.
Give the man some competition! That is not too much to ask, is it? The defence as a group also lacked communication and were caught flat on many occasions.
A leader needs to step up in the absence of John Mensah to do the necessary organization at the back.
So we changed the plugs and perhaps the engine oil, but I guess we were short changed as the replacements were simply not up to scratch.
I am talking about missing Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and ?Bra? Laryea in the midfield last night.
They together with captain Stephen Appiah became the mainstay of the team, driving it on to several victories, pre and post World Cup 2006.
Is not unfortunate that just when the il capitano, Stephen Appiah returned from injury, the other three members of the "Famous Four" have had to deal with varying degrees of injury thus keeping them out of the team.
So Daniel Yeboah, Samuel Kyere and Andre Ayew are called upon to replace the injured trio alongside Appiah in the middle of the park.
Appiah though lacking in match fitness put up a commendable display, his heart is always going to be in it right?
Samuel Kyere made his debut so I would permit the man his honeymoon. Daniel Yeboah I loved and adored in the just ended "Top Four" but it's obvious he can't be part of the "Famous Four". Effective?
Yes, but lacks the drive and confidence to be the box to box defensive midfielder we seek. They call him "Argentina" but our brothers along the Pacific Ocean would not be amused in the least. ?Madina? would do just fine. What do you say Daniel?
The strikers would be forgiven as no clear scoring chances were created for them to score.
So for Matthew Amoah, Prince Tagoe, Junior Agogo and Samuel Yeboah, like we say in our local parlance "Tomorrow is another day".
THE BIG WINNERS
You would realize that I deliberately kept Andre Ayew's assessment from the above because I think he like the Carthage Eagles, deserve special mention as the biggest winners for the night.
Dede came under a barrage of criticism as his call-ups was linked to the influence of this dad, football living legend, Abedi Pele.
He displayed confidence and took the game to the Tunisians admirably. Here is your winners medal, Andre.
The Tunisians came into town missing several of Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien players who would be involved in this weekend's Caf Cup final.
They stuck to their strategy and actually came close a number of times. They would go back home the happier of the two sides and their confidence given a huge boost, after all the draw is like a win to them.
THE BIG LOSERS
This is not too hard to guess is it? Coach Milovan Rejevac is one of the big losers. To imagine that he has only won 1 match out of 5 matches played, even that was against lowly rated Lesotho.
That gives him a score of 20%, which is very poor to say the least. Can imagine the backlash if someone with a skin colour like you and me was in charge!
You just do not get coming off him, the vibe of a man who is in control to deliver Ghana the 2010 World Cup qualification.
His substitution of Ayew in the game at the time he was on top while keeping Dramani Haman on the pitch is ample proof. Coming events they say???.
Dramani has consistently preached speed as against useful end product, most of his crosses ending up in the stands yet he keeps getting playing time.
The least said about him the better. He is the other big loser.
THE FINAL WHISTLE
So when the final whistle is blown and you realize that Eagles are flying above stars, tell me what would you do?
I would not dismiss it, but I would recommend a thorough house cleaning to restore order in the galaxy so the Stars can shine again.
Would you call for the head of the coach, some of the players or the FA, would you call for calm heads? What you would do. Let me know.
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By: Nii Ayitey Tetteh
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