Thursday, 19 September 2013


Somehow Ghana managed to draw the one team all Ghanaians didn’t want to meet; the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The view in Ghana is that, our friends from the north of the continent apart from being great footballers engage in gamesmanship and will even cheat all in an effort to win a football game.

The Black Stars recently welcomed some exiled and temporarily retired players back into the squad for their victory against the Chippolopolo of Zambia but the presence of such players did little to paper over the cracks of the defensive aspects in coach Kwesi Appiah’s team.

Fatau Dauda
Ghana’s number-one goalie Fatau Bauda recently made a transfer to South Africa, where he joined Orlando Pirates only to find himself perpetually benched because South Africas second-choice goalie; Senzo Meyiwa is currently in the form of his life at Pirates. Dauda is actually yet to make his debut at the Buccaneers and against Zambia he showed jitters every time he came out of his goal to claim or parry a cross. His performance on the day was that of a keeper who is very rusty and lacking match practice.

Adambathia Larsen Kwarasey 

Former first-choice goalie, Adam Kwarasey who is the captain at Norwegian-side Stromgodset IF, lost his place in the build-up to the last AFCON to Dauda. The Norwegian-born goalie is currently injured (groin strain) and a date for his return has not yet been set. Kwarasey conceded two goals in the last match he started for Ghana against Turkey (he was withdrawn at half-time and Razak Brimah who plays club football for CD Guadalajara  made his debut).

Razak Brimah
The third-choice goalie, Razak Brimah was having a brilliant game in goal during the recent friendly against Japan till the Blue Samurai’s turned on the style and he was left picking three-balls from his twine in the second half. He released Asamoah Gyan with a long throw from his own half for the striker to grab the equalizer against the Turks on his debut but he also made some schoolboy errors against Japan (a game where Ghana fielded a “B side”).

The lack of quality goal-keeping options has led to calls for the return of the veteran Richard “OLELE” Kingson, the former Wigan Athletic and Blackpool goalie recently secured a one-year deal with Cypriot club Doxa Katokopia. After 18 months out of football with problems both on and off the pitch, It could be argued that Richard Kingson lost his place in the squad due to his club-lessness as much as his age of 35years (unlike in Egypt, in Ghana a player is on borrowed time as soon as he hits 30). Kingson is currently playing active football and could be set for a swansong in Brazil.

Former Black Stars and Accra Hearts of Oak goalie, Sammy Adjei has indicated a willingness to play for the Stars even though he is clubless at the moment. Adjei grew frustrated with the Black Stars after being frozen-out on the bench due to the wonderful form of Richard Kingson.

Several goalies are on the fringes of the squad chiefly amongst them the World U-20 winning goalie Daniel Adjei who has very happy memories from Egypt where he became a world-champion with the Black Satellites. He was a player who received many call-ups without making many starts but the call-ups dried up when he made a move to PSL-side Free State Stars. He received a baptism of fire on his PSL debut and hasn’t yet locked down a starting slot.

There is also some un-tested goal-keeping talent in the Glo-Premier League; Foli Adade (Medeama SC) and  Isaac Amoako (Kumasi Asante Kotoko) but both have no chance of being given a starting berth against Egypt due to their inexperience on the international stage.

The Black Stars really need an active, competent goalie and fast if they are to have a chance at making it to Brazil. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013



So the former area champions arrived in GH after much ceremony and were promptly dispatched by the Black Stars (as if it was ever in doubt, though I was a bit disappointed by the scoreline).

The match reminded me of a grudge much I had in my child-hood at Girls-School park in La,Accra. The game was between the guys from my compound house were I still live and the guys on the other side of the park. In the build up to our game the other guys engaged in trash-talking like the Zambians did and were on our backs during the whole week till the Saturday came.  I remember in the early stages I hassled one of their players got the ball back and passed to my brother who scored the first goal. I cant remember the final scoreline, we won the game but weren’t very excited by the final score.

Before the Copper bullets arrived they wanted to engage Ghana in that “Ayittey Powers-Bukom Banku” type beef, firstly they cried wolf to FIFA, wanted to land at an airport where it was not possible to land because international flights don’t land there and rehabilitation works are on-going (for a nation that lost their Copper generation or is it golden in a plane crash one would have thought they would be eager to do the right thing).  The propaganda machinery of the Zambian FA were in full flight trying to make this match a grudge match when there was no need.

I am tired of describing their antics, so on to the match.

The match wasn’t vintage Black-Stars; Gyan was poor (can be excused because he wasn’t a 100% fit but Sunzu owned him on the day), the centre-back pairing of Boye and Mensah were jittery (IN FACT THE WHOLE DEFENCE MADE ME NERVOUS) and Fatau Dauda reminded me of Almunia coming out to claim crosses (It’s sad that Ghana’s number 1 is a consistent bench-warmer in SA). But a team that has players like Kwadwo Asamoah, Dede Ayew in its starting 11 and a Michael Essien (who had a massive cameo) on its bench should and must always have enough for Zambia on any day.

The first goal came when John Boye some-how managed to keep a ball from going to touch and playing it across the face of goal for the dimunitive Abdul Majid Waris to head it past a hapless Kennedy Mweene. The second goal was individual brilliance from Kwadwo Asamoah, left with all the space in the middle of the pitch, the Juventus–man(has  a Zambian ever played at Juve?) lashed in an unstoppable, scorching drive that left Mweene with no chance of keeping it out. The Zambians pulled one back through Sinkala from a beautifully worked corner routine.

In the post-match interview the Zambian coach Herve Renard was much more gracious in defeat than I expected him to be, he even shared a hug with Asamoah and wished Ghana well. He spoke and acted like a man who wouldn’t mind returning to Ghana in a different capacity as head-coach in the future.

I felt a bit sorry for him, not because he looks like a movie-star but because it would have been more of a fight if the Zambian FA had been interested in keeping their house in order (i.e. arriving on time, accepting the GFA’s offer of a transit flight to Kumasi and having a decent training session on the grass at Baba Yara).  If Zambia is anything like the football-loving country that Ghana is, Mr. Bwalya and Mr. Mwanza should have some serious questions to answer.
Zambia knocked us out of an African Cup (and lifted the trophy), they also beat us in a World Cup qualifier but this wasn’t enough reason for them to consider themselves equals (we have four AFCONS and a World Cup quarter-final berth under our navels).

The Zambians are working very hard to portray themselves as the most oppressed team in African football with various allegations, chiefly CAF managing to keep them out of the Confederations Cup by organizing another AFCON because apparently CAF deemed them not “fashionably-pretty” enough to represent the continent.

To my Zambian brothers, I hate to burst your bubble but I think a Zambian proverb describes it best; “YOU CAN SHARE THE SAME BED BUT NOT THE SAME DREAM” (not really a Zambian proverb but I couldn’t resist).