- Kwesi Appiah’s reign is of to a great start
- FOUR players make the Black Stars debut
- Captain Asamoah Gyan scores 50th International goal
Ghana thrashed Ethiopia by five goals to nil in the 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier.
A landmark goal for Asamoah Gyan opened the scoring, John Boye doubled the lead, debutant Ebenezer Ofori added a third late in the first half and new boy Raphael Dwamena scored a brace on his debut to complete the rout.
Ghanafans.com takes a look at the key talking points from Sunday’s game.
Off to a great start
A big win is essential to kick of your managerial tenure, and Kwesi Appiah did just that. He made big calls in starting four debutants, and his decisions were justified on the pitch. Free-flowing attacking football that has brought joy back into supporters’ hearts. Appiah and his new look coaching staff put a lot of work off the pitch and we saw the results. Such a performance has not been seen in a while; it gives confidence to the players and to supporters. Let’s hope the Black Stars carry this momentum into games against higher-level opponents.
There were four first team debutants on Sunday; Lumor Agbenyenu, Ebenezer Ofori, Thomas Agyepong and Raphael Dwamena.
Lumor’s performance has catapulted him into competition for the left back spot. Since Hans Adu Sarpei we have not had a consistent left back; if this performance was anything to go by, we might have finally found a solution to an age old problem. Ebenezer Ofori had an excellent debut in the middle of the park. Thomas Agyepong was a real threat down the left flank.
Raphael Dwamena looks like the real deal; bagging a brace on his first start. Faultless performances from the debutants; let’s hope they continue this form in the future.
Finally, some competition….
The recent failures of the Black Stars was not completely the technical staff’s fault. The players had a lot to do with it; since the 2010 World Cup, the players took the national team for granted. Lackluster performances followed as a result and this is why Ghanaians stopped supporting the national team.
There was no competition for places; the same players were selected time and time again. If this game is anything to go by, Kwesi Appiah is tackling this problem by bringing in players who can do the job. Players like Wakaso, Afriyie Acquah, Christian Atsu and Jordan Ayew will need to up their game if they want to start for the Black Stars.
The Black Stars have a bright future
Richard Ofori (23), Lumor(20), Thomas Partey (23), Ebenezer Ofori (21), Thomas Agyepong (20), Raphael Dwamena (21). That is six (6) players in the starting lineup that were 23 and under. They all played brilliantly, the pressure did not faze them at all.
Ebenezer Ofori really caught the eye with a classy midfield performance, Ghana has unearthed another gem. Raphael Dwamena started alongside Asamoah Gyan; the man he looks set to replace as the latter is reaching the twilight of his career.
Kwesi Appiah’s squad was a mix of young and old along with players from the local league. Appiah is gradually changing the old guard that formed the spine of the team, and that is the best thing to do for the development of a major footballing nation.
This was only negative from Sunday’s game; Skipper Asamoah Gyan wore a customized captain’s armband for the game. This is bad for two reasons;
Firstly, it is against FIFA rules on Equipment (article 20.1 and 20.2) which in summary states that:
“Captain’s armbands shall remain free of, and shall not produce, in FIFA’s discretion, the visual effect of a Manufacturer’s identification, a sponsor, any Decorative Element or further elements, except for the word “captain” or an abbreviation or translation thereof.”
Which means that Gyan and the Ghanaian FA may face sanctions.
Secondly, it further fuels rumours of a captaincy dispute in the Black Stars camp. During the AFCON 2017, Dede Ayew reportedly demanded the armband from Gyan. He got his wish when Gyan got injured early in the tournament.
Whatever the problem is; Kwesi Appiah should find a way to quickly deal with it, as he knows first-hand how player attitudes can affect the team and indirectly, his job.
Putting aside the fact that the opposition was lowly-ranked Ethiopia, Ghanaians must enjoy this victory as a marker for greater things under the new Kwesi Appiah era.