ZAMBIA IN MY THOUGHTS
Kojo Addae Mensah
Posted on: Fri Jun 15, 2012
This is sometimes the most difficult period for those of us who write in club specific newspapers.
The season is over, we are not in Africa, neither are we in the FA cup and so things are dry. Therefore, it is a struggle to get stories that can capture the imagination of the readers.
It is not easy at all but of course, after more than 15 years of experience this should not be an issue.
Guys, I will have to veer away from Kotoko again today even though I am preparing for the annual report as well.
Today I am going to focus on the Black stars as our beloved duo of Akwasi Appiah and Maxwell Konadu fell to the first senior national team defeat in Ndola Zambia last week. It was a very difficult match to watch and very painful to see the two do all they can to get a point or win all to no avail.
I tried watching the game from a very neutral point of view though I must admit that it was not easy at all doing that considering that I am Ghanaian and it was my coaches on the bench.
BUT and a big BUT, this time the Zambians seem to have our measure aaaba. It reminds me of how Cote D’ivoire used to have our measure until Tony Yeboah silenced them in South Africa and South Africa also had our measure until Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien also silenced them in their own back yard.
These days we seem to be struggling to beat Zambia and we seem to have all the possession and play all the fine, fine ball but in the long run, they beat us narrowly.
It is time we put a stop to it before it is too late and have Zambia knocking us out of the competition right under our noses.
What do we need to do to silence these Zambians who are giving us hell? I can understand why Akwasi Appiah went into Zambia for a win. He opened up and played the normal 4-4-2 in an attempt to score and put Zambia in their right shoes. Unfortunately it did not work and maybe it is time to rethink the strategy against Zambia.
I don’t know what Akwasi has in mind but I will advise that the next time we meet them; he goes one top and play a bit more cautiously. I think it will be good to have some skillful players combined with the gritty ones and pack the midfield so that on the break we will get the desired goal.
Sometimes I think that is how the Zambians play us as they are able to crowd the goal area with attacking, making it difficult to split them up and score. I am a lay man who knows nothing about football tactics but seriously, I do not fault the technical men for the strategy they took into Zambia but that is enough now.
If it so happens that we need a point or we need to beat Zambia in Ghana at the last game in September 2013, then the game plan has to definitely change and that is my proposal to the technical team.
Another point I want to make as a result of the fall out in Zambia is to ensure that we bring in Asamoah Gyan at all cost. I think he remains the best striker in Ghana and we much have him in the team.
I now with hindsight it is always easier to say some things but frankly, I think if we had Asamoah Gyan in the attack last week in Ndola, we are sure to have nicked a goal.
I can’t understand why Vorsah was brought in after Akamenko had played well in Kumasi. I am not saying we lost because of that, but I am just asking the question.
This is because though he warmed himself well into the later stages of the game I think he was a bit sluggish in the 1st 15 minutes when we conceded. Indeed, it looked to me that the team took time to warm themselves into the game. It was as if the cold in South Africa was still in them and they had still not warmed themselves out of the cold.
Kudos though to the Zambian team. They played very well and deserved to win the match. We have to come back home, revise our notes, and ensure that we go out to win against Sudan and beat Lesotho as well away.
That will surely keep us in pole position and keep us on track to qualify for the knock round. We should encourage Kwasi and his team to continue with their work, check the few errors they have made and work at correcting them but as for Asamoah Gyan, they have to go and get him back into the team.
On the international front, I have been watching a bit of the Euro 2012 games and I hope our players and coaches are watching. I think African soccer has come of age as I believe that the top African sides can take any of these European sides on any day and deal with them.
I have been disappointed with the standard of play and I was telling some friends the other day that I enjoyed the cup of nations a bit more than what I have seen so far in the Euro championships. Germany as usual is a very solid unit and look set to lift the cup.
Congratulations also go to Ajara Mohammed for winning the sports personality of the year 2011. Her achievement happened so long ago some people have even forgotten. It would be great if the SWAG could organize their awards, either in December or in January so people can still remember the feats achieved by the sports men and women.
Kudos thus goes to the PLB who are doing their awards right at the end of the season so everybody remembers.
I believe my beloved Kotoko will sweep the table once again. I tip Kotoko to win the MVP, best goalkeeper, best CEO without a doubt, best midfielder and best defender.
I remain your true red fabulous aficionado.
Kotoko Beku Me.
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