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Sports Features Wed, 26 Jun 2019

Why Appiah has deferred an opportunity to shoot cupid’s arrow into Ghanaian hearts

In recent past, we’ve seen the sweet love affair between Ghanaians and the Black Stars acidulate.

The process quickened in the aftermath of the 2014 World Cup debacle, an occurrence that single handedly brought the country more shame than any single event in the last decade.

Something drastic needed to be done; a formula needed to be worked out to contrive a way to bridge the gap between the team and the disgruntled fans/followers.

Tournament after tournament, hopes of Ghanaians have been elevated steadily only to suffer a painful jolt in the end, following a disappointing outcome.

Ghana lost the 2015 AFCON final to Ivory Coast at a period where the Black Stars had taken a 2-0 lead via shootout. A defeat to Cameroon in the semi finals 2 years later truncated our chase for the AFCON trophy since the last triumph in 1982 and an opportunity to win Ghanaians over again.

So prior to the 2019 tournament, the people had been very careful in regards how much of a support they will offer the Black Stars.

Appeals from players, the coach and other management members was gradually turning the odds in their favor.

Ghana’s AFCON 2019 trophy hunt; has been tagged as a project dear to the heart of the presidency. This eventually saw the first gentleman of the Land, H. E Nana Akuffo Addo, amidst the current near-climacteric issues confronting the country, emplaning to Egypt ahead of the opening game to affirm his support for the team.

Interest was growing across streets and expectation levels were being raised along the line. Like that aspiring musician hoping to impress a panel of judges at an auditioning, the Black Stars had a similar task to accomplish, in their first game against the Squirrels of Benin.

Alas, I cannot say they impressed and won over many hearts. Events that played out in the game, swung the pendulum in favor of Ghana’s opponents and like a candle in the wind, the Stars’ light was blown out even before the game expired.

A fair and objective admission on my part is that in a game that the Black Stars seemed to have nipped in the bud after a jerky start; they ended up being benevolent and dashed Benin a point.

At the end of the match; instead of winning over the hearts and support of fans who thronged several viewing centres across the nation, Coach James Kwasi Appiah and his charges ended up opening a wound that perhaps has been treated palliatively.

An old wound looks fresh, and memories of old have been evoked. Discussions about the team this morning on several media platforms spearheaded by the many Ghanaian Coaches never to have done their badges and scattered across the country will center on Kwasi Appiah’s lack of expertise in regards game management as well as his deficient technical and tactical aptness.

Decisions taken, substitutions made and their timing are the many highlights brought up in most conversations I have overheard people have and those I have actively been a part of.

Much will be said and certainly questions will be asked.

Why withdraw Samuel Owusu and keep an average performer in Christian Atsu?

Why throw Afriyie Acquah into the game that late, to salvage a point that looked well secured from that moment?

Did the Coach start his best players?

If he did, then certainly questions will be further avanced about the quality in his entire squad and what this means for Ghana’s prospects in Egypt?

Why did the Coach fail to pull the plugs on that trait of suffering momentary lapses in concentration; scenarios that led to us conceding the 2 goals.

Is James Akwasi Appiah well-equipped tactically and technically to guide Ghana to a first AFCON conquest since 1982?

Is Ghana capable of overcoming this blip and avoiding another slip away from attaining the ultimate glory?

These and many questions would be put forward with varying answers and explanations.

But one thing I know for sure is the Black Stars have missed out on a very good opportunity to win back the hearts of Ghanaians.

Luckily, it’s not concretized in perpetuity; they have this Saturday, June 29 to make amends when they face a buoyant Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

Are they beatable, certainly yes but definitely won’t be a cinch.

But until then, let the analysts and pundits keep the discussions going.

Source: Michael Asare Boadu
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