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Sports Features Sat, 4 Jun 2011

Player ratings: Ghana versus Congo

Here is how the Black Stars team fared on the night.

The drab match notwithstanding, there were a number of positives and negatives.

Here is how the Black Stars team fared on the night.

Richard ‘Olele’ Kingson-2.5

Olele sat pretty the entire game as the Congolese barely threatened his goal area. On one of the few occasions that he was called to shepherd a simple back pass, he fluffed his lines for the umpteenth time and allowed the Congolese to nick in a cheap goal.

Well, he maybe 32 years only, but perhaps having been around this long, from 1996 when he debuted for Ghana, his concentration isn’t sharp anymore.

Enough of the gaffes, it’s time to take a bow fella. Thank you, it’s been nice.

John Pantsil-6

I am not his fan, but I always give him credit when he deserves it. He seems to have cut out unnecessary antics from his game and now plays it simple and effective at right back.

That is exactly what ‘Johnny Boy’ did on the night. Simple passes, timely tackles and getting forward when he had to. The only minus, as always, were his poor crosses.

Question is, against stronger and faster opposition, would Pantsil survive. Who am I to question him, after all, he has, since 2002.

Daniel Opare-6.5

Daniel Opare’s talent has never been in doubt. Credible performances by the Standard Liege player earned him a call up into the team most likely as a back up at right back.

He however found himself at left back in the friendly against England for which he earned plaudits. Coming into this particular game, many a fan wanted to see if Opare could finally solve the left back problem of the Black Stars.

Well, he didn’t, but he showed enough promise with some swift counter attacks. His movement looked better than his defending which was very suspect especially in the first half. But kudos to the young man.; He can only improve.

Isaac Vorsah -7

Hoffenheim’s imposing centre half had a night to remember. He capped a good performance with a well taken header from Agyemang Badu’s cross for the first goal.

Increasingly, this young man continues to exert himself as a bonafide centre back for the team. ‘Efo’ Ghana needs more of such headers.

John Mensah -5

I cringed when late into the game; the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ came off worse in a battle with a Congolese attacker. Not again! I prayed silently for his return. Return he did, but his brave act would not mask his average output in central defence. Indeed, for the umpteenth time, he lifted his hands to signal offside in the lead up to Kingson’s error. It was his first game as substantive captain for the Black Stars and he did just okay.

Emmanuel Agyemang- Badu –8 (MAN OF THE MATCH)

I cannot begin to imagine what thoughts may be going through Anthony Annan’s mind as he watched the game for the first time on the sidelines since 2008.

For Annan, his dip in form, connected to a recurring toe injury, could not have come at a worst time. Stars’ coach Goran ‘Plavi’ Stevanovic’s preference for attacking minded defensive midfielders meant that with Agyemang Badu’s good form, he was easily picked over the more conservative Annan.

And Badu responded with a remarkable performance. He tackled, he closed down, he provided incisive passes and more admirably, he bombed forward and added bite to the attack.

He capped a brilliant performance with a breathtaking 3rd goal for the Stars. The midfield battle just got more intriguing. Play again Badu!

Michael Essien – 5.5

It was supposed to have been a memorable return to the Black Stars for the Chelsea man since he last featured in January 2010.

But it definitely was a match Essien would like to forget in a hurry. Sure, he played his part, but it was surprising how easily the Congolese seized the midfield to their advantage with Essien playing second fiddle.

You just didn’t feel the presence of ‘the bison’.

Kwadwo Asamoah-6.5

It is difficult rating players like Kwadwo. You expect them to churn out great performances, match after match, due to their gifted talents.

So, when they do nothing special, you have to be extra careful your assessment is not skewed due to heavy expectations. This was one of such nights.

A closer look however reveals that Kwadwo, playing in an attacking midfield role, moved the ball quite well and won some free kicks but characteristically wasted the few chances that came his way.

Sulley Muntari-3.5

Muntari’s form has suffered over the course of the season and it clearly showed on the night. How he even got into the starting eleven, I can’t fathom.

Plavi probably has the answer. Please, don’t give me ‘he is a goal threat’ argument.

His presence derails the team’s rhythm more than facilitates it. Sulley was not only sluggish, he was tactically indisciplined; he drifted into central midfield several times from the left wing and hardly tracked back to help out Opare.

Make no mistake, Sulley when fit is a fantastic player but for now his place is on the bench.

Kevin Prince Boateng-5.5

The AC Milan player wore a countenance that indicated quite surprisingly, his disinterest in the match.

He was deployed on the right side of midfield and the player who once operated brilliantly in that position for Portsmouth seemed to have forgotten how to work the wings.

Maybe he wasn’t happy playing in that position. It must be the only reason to explain what turned out to be a disappointing home debut.

Prince Tagoe -6

Tt was expected that his red hot form for his Serbian team, Partizan Belgrade, would be translated to the Black Stars. Well it was. Tagoe headed in the second goal from a Dominic Adiyiah deflected shot, but apart from that, the lone striker was largely anonymous for a greater part of the game.

The subs:

Dominic Adiyiah – (6) Brought some urgency into the game.

Adre ‘Dede’ Ayew – (6) Was very direct and provided lots of energy.

Derek Boateng – (5.5) Routine performance and nothing spectacular.

The coach:

Goran Stevanovic- (5) Poor selection by the coach. Employing a defensive set up against Congo Brazavile at home is unacceptable.

So, those are my ratings, did you see it differently? Let the debate begin.

Nii Ayitey Tetteh

niiayitey29@gmail.com

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Source: Nii Ayitey Tetteh
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