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Why Ayew should be given a central role with the Stars

Andre Ayew Shout

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 Source: footy-ghana.com/christopher opoku

Unless the unexpected happens, Ghana will be playing two African Nations Cup qualifying matches against Uganda and Togo within the next week or so and for the first time in many games, team captain Asamoah Gyan and midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah are out injured and so cannot feature.

With Jordan Ayew also suspended for the game in Kampala on Saturday against the Cranes, stand in coach Maxwell Konadu has opted to go in for Emmanuel Osei Banahene to join other forwards Abdul Majeed Waris and David Accam.

The focus for this piece though is Andre Ayew, who will captain the Black Stars in Gyan’s absence. His development with the Black Stars has been steady, since Claude Le Roy handed him a debut at the age of 17 in 2007.

He has also developed into Marseille’s most important player and it is not surprising that his absence was a reason why Marseille lost to Paris Saint Germain over the weekend.

This article would actually look at where the midfielder is probably best suited to play, and why it might make sense to move him from the wing; especially in Kampala.

In my view, Andre Ayew would thrive if used in the ‘hole’ behind the main striker. I know that Konadu has favoured using two strikers, just as Kwesi Appiah did before him, but the Kampala game would be very tough, even though Togo won 1-0 there.

The Ugandans gave the Black Stars trouble in Kumasi and that is why Ghana might be best served using a lone striker upfront. Perhaps that is why Osei Banahene has been drafted in, but Andre Ayew will have the shackles taken off if he is handed a free role.

Majority of his goals for club and country have come from central areas and indeed, in Brazil, his two goals were as a result of moving centrally. If you recall, his goal against the United States was as a result of making himself available by ghosting late into the penalty box and Gyan’s backheel did the rest.

Ayew is also very good in the air and the way he powered home the header past Manuel Neuer in the game against Germany showed it.

Indeed, a liberated Andre Ayew would be a massive plus for the Black Stars shorn of Gyan’s talents and it could prove problematic for the Cranes.

He has a strong left foot and his appetite for hard work throughout a game means that he would track back to help the midfield when Ghana does not have the ball.

Ayew has been quietly effective on the wing, but there have been occasions when the midfielder has cut inside and moved centrally. More than half the time, such movements result in goals for the Black Stars. Again, his role in the first goal as Ghana thrashed Egypt 6-1 comes to mind.

With the likes of Solomon Asante, Christian Atsu, David Accam and Mubarak Wakaso, Ghana is well covered down the flanks and so that should free Ayew to play to his strengths in a central role.

For Ayew to be effective, he would also need a strong midfield behind him and perhaps a midfield axis of Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and Rabiu Mohammed should do the trick.

Both players started against Guinea in Casablanca and probably should do the business, especially with Andre Ayew dropping deep to assist when the Black Stars do not have the ball.

Indeed, Ayew’s ability to drop deep could also allow Agyemang Badu to also forage forward in search of a goal threat for Ghana. Also, such a system would demand tactical discipline from full backs Harrison Afful and Baba Abdul Rahman in recovering after going on the attack.

I have always said that Andre Ayew would eventually evolve to play the very position his legendary father, Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ played for Ghana with such disctinction and even though technically, Andre is not as technically gifted as his father was, he has the potential to make a success of playing in the ‘hole’.

Away from the Ayew positional discussion, Konadu would have a headache over who to put in goal. Stephen Adams might probably get the nod, but the Aduana Stars goalkeeper’s performance against Guinea in Tamale does not inspre too much confidence.

Perhaps John Boye’s return could steady things a bit at the back, but Adam Kwarasey’s continued absence from the team still leaves the Black Stars without an established first choice goalkeeper for the moment.

There has been a lot of discussion over Emmanuel Osei Banahene’s call up. Only time will tell if Konadu got it right but I get the feeling that he would be the go-to man if the lone striker system is utilized.

Source: footy-ghana.com/christopher opoku