AFCON 2017: What We Learned From The Black Stars Semi Final Defeat

The Black Stars extended their recent near misses on the continent with another painful 2-0 at the hands of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Two second half goals from the Lions tamed the misfiring Black Stars and set an Egypt versus Cameroon for Sunday’s grand finale.

A postmortem review of the game however spelt doom for the Ghanaians with no noted players within the ranks of the Black Stars filling in for Asamoah Gyan who was crocked with injury. Some notable points spotted across the game are explained below.

Life after Asamoah Gyan might send the Black Stars into the wilderness once again as proven in the semi final clash with Cameroon. From the make shift Jordan Ayew who was made to lead the attack to the attacking trio upfront, the Black Stars must get an out and out centre forward to replace the aging Asamoah Gyan. The cameo appearance handed Asamoah Gyan in the dying embers of the game almost tied the scores for the Ghanaians but for a late whistle. A strong end to the first half with many chances gone wasted signifies the need to get a typical centre forward as a replacement for the soon to retire Asamoah Gyan.

The 4-3-3 system used in the game misfired big time with no telepathy amongst the middle trio spinning around Afriyie Aquah. The combination of Aquah , Wakaso and Partey was supposed to play a duel role, stopping the Indomitable Lions at the centre and quickly releasing Wakaso to join the attacking trio due to his long drives. Neither of the two options materialised as the Lions roared across the length and breadth of the pitch. A flat 4-4-2 with a creative gem on the width would have helped matters. Can you imagine Samuel Tetteh and Christian Atsu on the wide areas led by Jordan Ayew and Asamoah Gyan? The full backs for the indomitable Lions would have been pinned to their defensive duties.

Andre Ayew spent too much time on the field with little or no contribution from the West Ham attacker. Andre was virtually a career all game long but the never changing Avrant played to the gallery and allowed the former Marseilles man to finish the game. What was the need for sending Samuel Tetteh, Ebenezer Assifuah and even Frank Acheampong to the tourney? Andre Ayew’s inspiration from the past made him a permanent fixture in the set up of the Black Stars but performances like the 2017 Nation’s Cup keeps the neutral thinking. A second half sub in the semis would have helped matters.

The Black Stars employed Jordan Ayew as the arrow head attacker in the semis against Cameroon and it backfired. A goal scorer up front doesn’t necessarily make you a centre forward. Jordan Ayew showed his predatory instincts upfront on the wings but up front he was too profligate to lead the Black Stars. A defense splitting pass from Harrison Afful was spurned just wide by the new Swansea forward, to highlight his inexperienced nature as a striker. A deceptive striking role for the skillful Ghanaian would have changed the course of the game.

Finally, the Black Stars management must look beyond Razak Braimah for the next goal keeper. The comical nature of his saves or the quite nature between the sticks leaves his team mates exposed at the back. From fixing the ball wrongly to poor organizational skills at the back, Razak is to be blamed for the opening goal in the defeat. Communication between the goal keeper and his defense would have allowed the ball to drop kindly for the goalie. The quite shot stopper however allowed the rugged John Boye to also repeat his childish defending in the build up to the goal. The Black Stars technical team will have to repose confidence in Richard Ofori or Fatawu Dauda if they are to provide competition for the Cordoba second choice goal keeper. The under pressure custodian however managed to keep his cool on a number of occasions despite his media backlash in the build up to the game.

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Written by Saani Abacha


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