Ghana Will Hope To Be Africa’s Star

17 05 2010

With this summer’s FIFA World Cup being held on African soil for the first time, the pressure is on for the six qualified home teams to do their continent proud. Ghana will be competing in their second consecutive tournament, and after an impressive African Cup of Nations in Angola this January; in which they were finalists, they will be looking to continue the momentum this summer with a stronger squad at their disposal.

In Angola, the Black Stars featured many players from their U-20 World Cup winning side of 2009 and Coach Milovan Rajevac has kept faith by including the likes of Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Agyei, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, André “Dede” Ayew and Dominic Adiyiah in his provisional 29-man squad. Inkoom is predicted to continue his place at right-back after the 20-year-old impressed in the tournament, and he could be joined in the starting line-up by Marseille’s Ayew, the son of three-time African player of the year Abedi Pele, who incidentally will be accompanied in the squad by his half-brother Rahim Ayew of Zamalek.

Fitness Doubt Over The Captain

Fitness Doubt Over Captain Essien

They will be in Group D and will be competing against Australia and Serbia to contest for the final qualification spot, as the group winner should be Germany. Progression could be feasible, but the experienced players need to stand up and be counted. With a midfield consisting of defensive midfielder Anthony Annan, the recently recalled Sulley Muntari, who has patched up his differences with the Coach, Udinese playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah and if he can recover from injury and prove his fitness in time, Michael Essien, then the Ghanaians could be a surprise package in South Africa.

Premier League fans will see some familiar faces including Wigan Athletic reserve keeper Richard Kingson, John Paintsil of Europa League runners-up Fulham, Sunderland’s John Mensah, Kevin-Prince Boateng of Portsmouth (who got clearance from FIFA to change national teams after being a former junior representative of Germany) as well as former Arsenal player Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, who had a brief spell at Portsmouth this year. Interestingly Boateng could create history by being the first person to face his brother if he is to line-up against Jerome when Ghana face Germany on June 23.

Something the Ghanaians could be fearful of is not scoring enough goals. Although in January they were the runners-up of the Africa Cup of Nations, they only scored four goals en route to the final. However, with the return of captain Essien and Muntari they will be looking for more thrust in the middle of the park, with the goal burden laying on Asamoah Gyan’s shoulders, who scored three of the goals in Angola and NAC Breda forward Matthew Amoah who scored five goals in qualifying. Essien’s injury problem is a cause for concern for Rajevac, who saw his skipper get injured by one of his team-mates in training in January. He will have a chance to prove his fitness in their training camp in France which they will start on May 24 along with two friendlies against Holland and Latvia. In goal they are weak, and three of the four selected play in Ghana. Kingson will be the No.1, but only three appearances in two seasons could leave him rusty. Mensah is another player included while injured, but the occasional captain should be fit in time.

Wildcards are becoming more common these days and Adiyiah could be Ghana’s. After spearheading the Black Satellites U-20 team to World Champions with eight goals in seven games last October, along with winning the Golden Shoe, Most Valuable Player and African Young Player of the Year for 2009, the young striker completed a £425 000 move to Italian giants AC Milan from Norwegian side Fredrikstad. The 20-year-old has already got four caps to his name and could be a super-sub.

Famously three-time World Cup winner Pele predicted that an African team would win the tournament before the end of the 20th century, and although his prediction has proved incorrect, 2010 represents the continent’s best chance thus far. The Ghanaians will have a tough job of progressing into the second round like they did in Germany four years ago, but with a formidable team consisting of many players based in Europe, they will be hoping to make a good account of themselves in South Africa.

Goalkeepers: Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professional), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars), Stephen Aholu (Heart of Lions), Richard Kingson (Wigan Athletic)

Defenders: Eric Addo (Roda JC Kerkrade), Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea), Rahim Ayew (Zamalek), Samuel Inkoom (FC Basle), John Mensah (Sunderland), Jonathan Mensah (Udinese), John Paintsil (Fulham), Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim)

Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Anthony Annan (Rosenborg), Stephen Appiah (Bologna), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese), André “Dede” Ayew (Arles Avignon), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth), Haminu Dramani (Lokomotiv Moscow), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Laryea Kingston (Hearts of Midlothian), Bernard Kumordzi (Panionios), Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan), Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Al Sadd)

Strikers: Dominic Adiyiah (AC Milan), Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda), Derek Boateng (Getafe), Asamoah Gyan (Rennes), Prince Tagoe (Hoffenheim)

As see on – A Different League




6 responses

18 05 2010

There definitely seems to be a higher expectancy on the African teams this year but I can’t see it happening. Especially not Ghana. Essien’s fitness will be crucial to any hopes they have of getting out of a tough looking group – and as you have said; they look weak up front.

Cote D’Ivoire have the best outside chance as far as the African countries are concerned but when you look at their group it becomes an extremely difficult task.

Boateng vs. Boateng was something I hadn’t considered, so that should be interesting.

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