How the players fared against Zambia
The senior national team, Black Stars beat the Chipolopolo 2-1 on Friday September 6, 2013 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in the last qualifier of the Group Stage to get closer to final eliminator to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It was a sweet revenge for the Stars who lost the game in Zambia 0-1, and that has been the only lose for Ghana in the World Cup qualifiers.
Coach Kwesi Appiah managed to bring on board most of Ghana’s experienced players, including Michael Essien who last played for the nation in 2011 and earned the winner through goals from striker Majeed Warris and talented midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah.
Skipper Asamoah Gyan led his team to the battle field with the hope of claiming the day and won the essential three points. It was not an easy game as the Chipolopolo played well and dominated the action packed game on most occasions.
The 2011 African Cup winners, Zambia played as a unit and their cohesion was intact. They matched Ghana, four times African Champions in skill and shooting ability, except that they shot themselves in the foot by not planning or preparing adequately for the game. They were late for training to get acclaimatised to the conditions of the host nation and resorted to shake up on the car park at the Stadium. Their psychological warfare plan failed when the media reported that Ghana had called on big names like Kevin Prince Boateng, Michael Essien, Andre Dede Ayew for the game.
Though the Black Stars did not start too well, they found the first goal before 20 minutes which made the Zambia team unstable. The cracker by the SWAG Best Sports Personality, Kwadwo Asamoah nailed them to feel the reality that Brazil 2014 was a dream.
For the Black Stars and the Kumasi fans, the game was another football fiesta and it was a sweet revenge as Zambia has beaten Ghana in their last two meeting. Zambia pipped Ghana at the 2011 African Cup in Gabon / Equtorial Guinea and also in the first leg of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
Before last Friday’s meet, the last time Ghana beat Zambia1-0 was in Senegal during the 1992 African Cup. Now Ghanaians are content that they have dominated the Zambians, and the game continues. How the Black Stars fared against the Chipolopolo in Kumasi:
Fatau Dauda: The goal keeper was really tested and he needs to work harder on his reflexes, confidence, communication and concentration if he wants to remain number one. 5pts
Daniel Opare: He was a bit dull on the right full back position. He did not run much to pull out crosses and nearly caused a penalty. He must live up to the expectation of his fans. 6pts
Harrison Afful: He was superb and a delight to watch. He tackled well, ran marvelously, crossed effectively and prevented the forwards of the Chipolopolo from causing damage. 8pts
Jonathan Mensah: He was too casual and did not correspond well with his defence partners. He commited a few mistakes by not playing it fast first time. 6pts
John Boye: The central defender is maturing very fast as a libro and his upfront charge earned Ghana the first goal. He needs to work on communication with his lateral defenders. He had a good game. 8pts
Rabiu Mohammed: He was running and at his tackling best and contributed effectively in the midfield of Ghana before he was substituted. 7pts
Mubarak Wakaso: The hardest worker of the Black Stars was good to watch. He had a good day and deserved to be on the winning side. 8pt
Asamoah Gyan: The captain played a captain’s game. He was so serious, strong, motivating, and inspirational and he mesmirised the defence of robust Zambia team. He attracted all the attention, but missed a goal to dance. 8pts
Dede Ayew: The son of the Africa’s Soccer Maestro who led Ghana ansd Africa to win the World Youth Cup for the first and only time in 2009 was at his charging best, though he could not find the net. He is maturing, but should try to release the ball on time to make the team jell better. 7pts
Majeed Warris: He proved to be a clinical finisher and had his name on the score sheet. He was very agile, very fast and very lucky. He deserved to be a winner. 9pts
Kwadwo Asamoah: His superb goal and tantalizing dribbling skills made him the special star on the field. He was brought down several times but he proved the reason why he is the current best player of Ghana by getting the cracking long range goal. 9pts
Michael Essien: His return was majestic and fantastic. He demonstrated the qualities of a leader and team player. He convinced everyone that there is still football in him and one of the players who must don the jersey of Ghana in Brazil 2014. 6pts
Agyeman Badu: The talented and strong midfielder came onfrom the bench and his presence was felt. 6pts
Christian Atsu: The young star came on and tried some shots; it was good that he experienced the tension and spirit of the game. 5pts
Generally Ghana Black Stars performed very good and crowned the qualifiers with only one lose in six games. Coach Kwesi Appiah & Technical Bench: The former Black Stars captain wants to be the first Blackman or Ghanaian to take Ghana to the FIFA World cup in Brazil. He has proved to be a listening and implementing coach who does not favour or pamper any player. He has given opportunity to many young players and he is still building the team. The assistant coaches have also supported very well and contributed massively in advising, reminding and also tight lose ends.8pts The opponents for the play offs will be known on September 16, 2013.
Best luck and wishes to the Black Stars of Ghana as they prepare for the final play off to the successive third World Cup berth.
Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are other nations that reached the play-offs stage.
Source: Sammy Heywood Okine