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03.02.2006 Sports News

There Is Still Hope For The Black Stars

By Yao Amekor

Having been a passionate follower of the game for quite sometime now, I am certain about the quality of work of the coach, Ratomir Dujkovic. It will be a shame for us to forget so soon, how extraordinary Dujkovic has been in spurring us on. If Ghanaians were on him right now for not qualifying the Nation to the! Nations cup, it would have been a fair call. Arguably, he stands out among all the coaches for the Black Stars over the last couple of years. It's been obvious from even the World Cup qualifying series that, the attack for the Ghanaian National is not potent. Most of the goals that qualified us for the World Cup came from midfield.

The team lacks a consummate finisher in offence compared to the virtually watertight midfield we got. In Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien and Laryea Kingston, the Black Stars certainly have the most balanced midfield on the continent. These three epitomize, the dexterity, aggression, creativity and coordination a team n! eeds to win games at the highest level. With the germ in Suley Muntari, the left wing has a world-class manager and the there is every reason to have confidence in the Sammy Adjei, John Mensah and Osei Kuffuor in defense. There is no arguing the fact that, these players form the core of the squad. I have little doubt about the depth of supplementary quality and talent Ghana has to pick players from to finalize the squad. And Dujkovic has been phenomenal in the naming of his squad at least for the Nations Cup.

If one makes a one-on-one comparison, you cannot compare the quality in the Ghanaian team to that of the US National team. It is ironic th! en that, the US is ranked number 8 compared to a mediocre 50th position for the Black Stars. Having followed the US team closely, their greatest strength seems to be their discipline and organization. I cannot say that we lack discipline, but am in no doubt about the gap between the Ghanaian National team and US National team concerning these words. The Italians and the Czechs sure have consummate and lethal finishers and we're invited to be really concerned about the harm these guys can cause. A High level of discipline and compact organization will help us fair well playing these teams.

The most experienced and successful Ghanaian de! fender, Samuel Osei Kuffuor comes first to mind when I talk about discipline. Barring contrary instructions from the coach, it makes little sense when defenders seem more enthused about getting a goal than concentrating on their fundamental job of defending. There have been several instances of the shirking of defending roles in favor of striking options on the sides of our defenders that have led us down. These experiences have informed my singling out of Kuffour and liking for John Mensah.

Another variant of discipline relates to the need for Black Stars to make stars out the boys who have demonstrated enough talent and natural flair as strike! rs. This is playing like team and not a bunch of players. Mathew Amoah sure stands out among our strikers now. But Prince Tagoe's natural striking abilities cannot be overlooked. Of course, Suley Muntari will be on the block. If our midfield can have complete confidence in the abilities of these guys and feed them effectively as well as bringing to the fore their unquestionable quality, we should scale our group at the world cup quite easily. My philosophy is simple; “we will not be able to progress from our group in the world cup by relying on goals from Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien”. The goals, if not most of them have to come from the strikers.

A goal from any player in the team is always welcomed even if it comes from Sammy Adjei. But the team needs to appreciate the importance of the fact that, goals from strikers will win the group for us. And the job then boils down to working hard in order to supply whoever the strikers are with balls to score. Anytime I hear of inexperience and playing at the highest level, I have difficulty understanding the logic. I think talent and quality matters most in this game and the Black Stars sure need to go for it. This is why a young and promising goal scorer like Tagoe needs to feature prominently in our plans.

The World Cup is one tournament! we cannot afford to go to for just the records. The nation has to be ashamed if we went out there and fail miserably in view of the materials we got. I want to see the GFA making efforts to see how Laryea Kingston can make it to the World Cup. He is a great player and the team needs him in Germany. The Coach needs the support of the Nation and we need to give it to him because he has shown that he deserves it. The team needs our support because it our National Team and we need to show we can be with them even in defeat.

I think and believe that, the Black Stars ha! ve enough quality and talent to make an impressive showing at the World Cup. I encourage the Nation to show faith and believe in the team including the technical staff. We showcased a depleted team at the Nations Cup. Our current players though are the best we got in years. Good Luck to the Black Stars in the World Cup. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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