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06.06.2005 Football News

The Stars performance and Doya's long way


(A GNA review by Veronica Commey)

Accra, June 6, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars might have scaled a crucial hurdle at the expense of neighbours Burkina Faso at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium last Sunday, but must be the first to admit that but for luck, the story could have been different.

The incessant jubilation by the vociferous fans that thronged the Stadium even after the game, affirmed the stress the players and their technical handlers went through in achieving the victory and most importantly, the needed three points.

The game also confirmed a perception in the football fraternity to the effect that the Serbian, Ratomir Djukovic, places emphasis on tactics and result-oriented approach to matches than just pleasing the soccer fans with delightful play - that was what exactly happened on Sunday.

But with all sincerity, Ghanaians must be the first to admit that the Black Stars have a long way to go in their quest of making a maiden World Cup appearance in Germany next year.

I dare say though that this view will mean nonsense to the jingoist and optimist Black Stars fan, but we ought to be fare and sincere with our selves that the team played badly and have to work extra hard before the crunch duel with group leaders South Africa on June 18.

Obviously, the midfield, which is always the "engine room", was vapid and there was lack of the vital link between the rear and the attack. And because virtually all the quartet midfielders of Dan Edusei, Mathew Amoah, Abubakari Yakubu and skipper Stephen Appiah, were on the offensive, it gave the tall and very physical Burkinabes the leeway to win all the 50-50 balls with ease.

Admittedly, the soggy nature of the pitch and perhaps the hectic European leagues may have affected the play of the boys but certainly, something urgently need to be done with our lack of urgency, faulty and square passes particularly at the heart of midfield.

More disturbing was the inability of the players to be a little innovative and creative on the field of play after realising that the long balls were not helping. Do you need a coach to tell you this? Our game has always been the short, crisps passes with fluid inter-positional play and wondering where the sadden "kick-and-run" option has been preferred.

I surely have no business suggesting which player ought to have made the team, but it was obvious the team lacked a strong ball-winner and distributor like Laryea Kingston, who surprisingly was on the bench. That key ingredient which was conspicuously lucking in Sunday's game made the absence of Michael Essien very much felt.

In spite of the shortfalls, the Stars had some early decent chances to hit the back of the net but it was clear that anxiety had the better of them. After playing in Europe for sometime now, our players should be able to develop the temperament for such big occasions and must be able to keep their cool whenever they get to the "18". Asamoah Gyan, although half-fit, and his colleagues should have shown some maturity in front of goal.

Kofi Amposah's inactivity for sometime now nearly cost the nation as he showed match-rustiness and unfit to pair with John "Tabitacum" Mensah at the defense. Issa Ahmed's introduction was timely as he brought some sanity at the back albeit with great support from dedicated Emmanuel Pappaoe and John Pentsil.

It is important that these genuine problems are solved before the Stars embark on the "journey of life", in South Africa in a fortnight time.

Debutant, Joe Tex Frimpong who showed lots of prospect in the last game must be encouraged and given more playing time. And with the appropriate strategy coupled with the right mental attitude, we should be able to scale over South Africa but we will need the Muntaris, Essiens and Kingstons in a future team.