As the Black stars inches closer to their AFCON opener on Tuesday January17 against the Cranes of Uganda, spotsworldghana.com assess the chances of the team and five players who could help the country realise its long-awaited 5th Cup of Nations triumph.
The only surviving squad member of the rejuvenated Black Stars currently in the Black stars setup, Gyan is in the front to make history as the only Ghanaian player to have played in 6th nations cup finals apart from the legendary Abedi Ayew Pele.
Asamoah present an enviable experience as he makes his 6th AFCON appearance and undoubtedly one of the very limbs the team would be counting on to cushion Ghana to its 5th continent glory. Though Ghana’s skipper has not had the best of club exposure in the past years, Gyan’s national output is one of the best in Africa, a call to duty and a selfless leader who is ever ready to propel his country to success.
Though Asamoah Gyan comes into this year’s tournament not the same person when he made his debut in 2008, injury and age have caught up with him-however you may want to bank hopes on someone who has scored in all his AFCON appearance and the country’s leading top-scorer. His eye for goal, the ability to overrun opponent defenders, good strength in the box are all but a few of Gyan’s benchmark on the pitch. If Ghana is winning this tourney, a lot of the loads rest on Asamoah Gyan no matter his current deficiencies.
Had it not being Cote d’lovire whose experience and luck came to bear in the last edition, Ghana would be going into the tournament as defending champions. One of the squad members whose electrifying pace, passes and saviour at some point nearly fetched Ghana’s 5th glory was Newcastle’s winger Christian Atsu. It came as no surprise when the connoisseurs announced him as the best player of the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
Unlike most of the Ghanaian players outside whose playing times have been cut short by injury and form, Atsu is unrelenting at SportDirect Arena, ST James’ Park. Week after week, team coach Rafael Benitez lauded the winger for his immense contribution towards the course of Newcastle United.
“It’s what we were expecting from him-a player that can beat players and make difference”. One of the numerous kinds from Benitez to Christian Atsu.
If Black Stars will make any inroad in Gabon and prove to the world that they have all it takes to undo the 35-year-old drought then the team would be looking up to Atsu blistering pace, goals and youthful nature.
Thankfully for Avram Grant and his technical handlers, Atsu has been able to shake off all injuries that makes it a major boost for the country. Should Atsu steps up very well and replicate his fine form with Newcastle fuse it with previous AFCON experience and has the backing of the rest of the team, Ghana would go places.
Andre Dede Ayew
Strength, hard word, teamwork, never say die spirit, talent were the features that characterised him the moment he was introduced as a substitute in 2008. Then, he was criticized for his childish display. Dede took those negative comments as an opportunity to right the wrong. Today Ghana revere Dede not only as a good player but one who has contributed immensely to Ghana football.
Not until now, Andre Ayew has been Ghana’s brightest spot in the foreign leagues in the last couple of years, very characteristic of most players [they give their all to their club side but when it comes to national duties, they will be showing lackadaisical attitude] that is not with Andre Ayew.
Cast in the mould of former skipper Stephen Appiah, Dede is committed to the course of the national duties, with his one leg, the legendary son will sit through the game, until success is ensured, such is the character Grant would be needing to bolster his hopes of first African trophy.
Dede is king when he is with the ball, his arrival in the opponent third half to notch goals and dispatch defenders are some of the football blessings Ghana would be expecting from the left-footed gem. His leadership qualities is a factor to reckon with.
Another youngster who has risen to accept the challenges of the Black Stars. A lot of players have tested the role of holding midfielder but most of them did not fear out well however Acquah has justified why he should be an integral part of Grant’s forward going.
Afriyie Acquah has been presented with another opportunity to justify the confidence reposed him by the technical handlers. Going through Aveam Grant’s list, it is obvious Acquah will be commanding a lead role in setup and the former Palermo man does not have any reason to disappoint.
Though he is not nailing it right this season at Torino because of competition, Acquah’s strength, technical awareness, his insightful passes, experience and the ability to break down opponent counter attacks means that the team can fall on him in their AFCON mission.
Thomas Teye Partey
Many would question his inclusion in the five man list not because he doesn’t qualify but he has not be given the opportunity to prove why he has a place in team Atletico Madrid which has well-established players.
Avram Grant has no reason to withhold Partey from exploding. There are a lot of depth in the youngster if given the chance, he would be better place on the lips of Ghanaians. Teye has everything a complete player must have; Pacy, strong and above all, he has age at his disposal.
One good aspect Partey possesses is his versatility-naturally brought as a defensive midfielder but at Madrid, Diego Simeone deploys him as an offensive leg to inject strength and pace. This is why Grant must take great pride in the youngster and give him the opportunity
Pessimism arose when things are wrongly done but optimistic is the product of doing things right.