Shift some weight off your back side or better still, lift yourself out of your couch and make for the nearest window in that room, fix your stare through any space that affords you a view into the world out there, and I bet you, if you are a football fan, you are either seeing or sniffing the advance of the first winter World Cup.
In a little over six months’ time the FIFA World Cup will kick-start in Qatar. Not since the depths of that disappointing night in Garoua through Rajevac’s getting the gate and the instating of Otto Addo as a provisional manager, have Ghanaians had cause to feel so proud of their team than after the all-important World Cup qualification game against Nigeria in Abuja.
The Black Stars will return to the world cup for the first time since the fiasco that drew the curtain down on their World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. They are drawn in Group H together with European try-hards Portugal, two times world champions and eternal pests Uruguay and Asian also-rans South Korea. In this article we will take a look at three ways the Black Stars can navigate a tournament few see them as favorite to even progress from Group H.
1) Otto Addo or whoever gets the nod should put together a well drilled side.
We have all seen Spain play recently; we all know that they no longer have the behemoth of a defender like Puyol, or even Ramos. Neither the ingenuity of Xavi or Iniesta, nor even the extraterrestrial legs of David Villa or Fernando Torres. Yet they are grinding out results, even against some of the world’s best teams. Outplaying and outscoring many. Whatever Luis Enrique is teaching these players from not too top dog clubs like Betis, Espanol, Valencia etc. Is something most managers do not seem to catch on to?
There is no hiding the truth that Ghana does not boast the talents that constituted the teams of the 2006, 2010 and even the 2014 World Cups, who represented the nation. The country’s only safe bet now is to present a close- knit side. One that successfully extracts world class football from every individual. A team that watchfully looks out for each other and timely compensates for each other’s weaknesses. It is true that the size of Ghana’s burgeoning international football image has considerably shrunk to the country’s recent failures in the game.
And only a technical team capable of fashioning and planting a huge fight in relatively ordinary and ‘small-sized’ players; enabled thus, to handle ‘the go at them like a bull at the gate’ strategy sure to be employed by opponents, could yield dividends on the huge emotions bound to be invested in every Ghana game. If this is done, The Black Stars can successfully prosecute the three group phase games in Qatar this winter.
That is not to suggest Ghana’s current place in the shades of all the other three teams in Group H and many others in this coming World Cup may not play to Ghana’s favor. In some way, opponents are sure to find it a headache in figuring out what strategies to adopt as a world class team would. This is something that should readily contribute to Ghana’s advantage and should be exploited.
Crafting a carefully fashioned side who plays with uninterrupted cohesion backed by the right tactics won’t only drain the energies of heavy-weight opponents, but quite comfortably, heave them to the sword.
2) The FA should go out of their way to bring in some of the top class players of Ghanaian descent.
The Inaki brothers, Handson-Odoi, Edward Nketiah among others can hardly be looked past, if any Black Stars coach finds them in his circle of players to choose from. These are some of the players of Ghanaian origins who are playing with and against most of the players of the teams the Black Stars are bound to play in winter, this year. By contrast most of these players are better in their respective positions than many of the current Ghanaian players in the same positions. If the Black Stars coach has the freedom to choose from a pool with some of these foreign born players, his major task will be to thoroughly familiarize them with his tactical formation and ensure they all bond well in time for the finals this winter.
The stronger the individual components, the stronger the team. And GFA should deploy every trick in the book to rope in some of these players. Aforesaid, essentially part of the coach’s headache will be to get them to play like a true team, and hopefully get them to understand the Ghanaian way of play.
The last and final is self-belief, self-belief is the starting point of all greatness. There is hardly any great success that was not founded on this element. No significant progress whatsoever can be achieved by a group of people who completely cedes everything to chance, and who do not appreciate the full glamor of their own vision. France, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain, perhaps the Netherlands and England may enter this World Cup with an open dream to win it, but you keeping yours under wraps should not make them better than you when the battle lines are drawn.
Our visions are often some kind of magnetic force that pulls us in the direction we plant them. Therefore, the dream to make a deep run into this year’s World Cup should be presented to every Black Star (player) to fixate on. Complacency that comes with winning games and being the best performing African side (at a point) should be shut out completely, discipline should be installed and the hunger after hunger to progress past every challenge must be effectively worked into the team. Like Andre Ayew said” let us have a once in a lifetime World Cup. “This can be made a World that establishes Ghana’s place as a new force in world football.
Source: Nana Kweku Bosomtwi.
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