WORLD CUP PREVIEW: GHANA

WorldCup2014

In a world of dreams anything is possible. Cliché, yes. Yet 200% true.  In a world of dreams, 1+1 is 3, Flava Flav is a plastic surgeon and you can stick my head on Brad Pitt’s body. In a world of dreams, Chelsea play tiki taka, David Silva is Merlin and Samuel Eto’o just turned three.In a world of dreams, Brazil  is coached by Moyes, Honduras’ attack is led by the fantastic 4 (Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Bale) Luis Suarez is FIFA President and Kwesi Appiah is Iron Man. In a world of dreams Iron Man just won the world cup for Ghana, the first for an African team.

Four years ago in South Africa, Ghana’s Black Stars came of within a few inches of Luis Suarez’s index finger by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi final of the senior World Cup. In my dreams, that ball went past Suarez’s hand and ended up in the back of the net. Ghana went on to play in the final.  That didn’t happen 4 years ago, many Ghanaians haven’t forgiven the Uruguayan and will be hoping this year the team can go one better whiles delivering on vengeance. Whichever way you look at it, the plots, the sub-plots, the mini-plots, the semi-plots, the half-plots abound.

One thing is certain; regardless of the difficult group the Stars find themselves expectations are high. Not many pundits have given this team a chance of progressing from this group. Why, because Germany is a tournament team, Portugal have Cristiano and the USA have a man in Klinsman who knows all about winning major Championships. What does Ghana have? Belief. The Stars will be counting on sheer belief and determination to get them far in this tournament. As for prayers, they will lack none. This is a country that has offered prayers for its ailing economy. The Muslims, the Christians and the Traditionalists have all chipped in. Indeed, social media was rife this week of news of one popular witch-doctor’s claim of being behind Ronaldo’s injury problems. My take on this: PLAIN SILLY and utterly ridiculous. Why not channel all efforts at annexing the trophy itself. Why waste all on one man. If Ghana’s going to win the World Cup, they have more than Ronaldo to contend with.

But all these are the off-field elements in Ghana’s campaign. On-field issues have dominated just as much. The truth is Kwesi Appiah’s final 23 was never in doubt as the squad almost certainly picked itself. This is evidenced by his reluctance to name a 30-man provisional squad. Ghana’s midfield is awash and brimming with world class talent and experience – from Schalke’s Kevin Prince Boateng, the Milan duo of Essien and Muntari, Marseille’s Andre Ayew to Juventus’ Kwadwo Asamoah, who perhaps has been Ghana’s best player in Europe. There is undoubtedly an amazing strength in depth. Other players one must look out for in this side are Rabiu Mohammed, a young talented defensive midfielder plying his trade in Russia. Then there is Afriyie Acquah, who lighted up the Italian Serie A this season with some powerful performances for Parma. Do look out for striker Majeed Warris. His was only a loan spell for French side Valencienne, yet 9 goals in as many games had endeared him to fans of the French outfit. It’s all a good mix of talent, youth and experience.

But perhaps its Ghana’s defence that represent’s Kwesi Appiah’s biggest headache. The loss of Jerry Akaminko pre-tournament has increased the intensity into a migraine. Thought of Ronaldo alone against Ghana’s relatively inexperienced defence renders one sleepless at night. But Ghanaian fans will be hopeful that goals upfront from “Sheikh”Asamoah Gyan will be more than enough to see the Black Stars through. It will be for time for the likes of Jonathan Mensah to step up having shown promise at youth level and with Appiah opting not to recall another central defender as replacement.

This tournament will be all about guts, and we’ll all looking forward to a festival. Will be going back into my world of dreams where black STARS actually do shine. Wake me up in 3 days time! Off to Brazil!!

PapaKwadwo

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