Ghana: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Best Ever Finish: Quarterfinals (2010)
Captain: Asamoah Gyan
Manager: Akwasi Appiah
The Black Stars looked as though they may have to negotiate a tricky play-off tie to take their place at the 2014 World Cup. They were pitted against Egypt in what looked the tightest of all the African play-off games, but Ghana blitzed Bob Bradley’s side 6-1 in the first leg and in doing so, all but secured their ticket to Brazil.
It was a performance and a score-line that made people sit up and take note of this side. And Ghana certainly have some players capable of doing some real damage in Brazil.
Particularly in midfield, where they have a glut of excellent options. Michael Essien is the most familiar of these names and since his return from injury – and despite his lack of action for Chelsea – he always seems to perform when pulling on the Ghanian national shirt. He’s ably supported by the likes of Juventus’ Kwadwo Asamoah, Milan’s Sulley Muntari and FC Schalke’s Kevin-Prince Boateng; three players who have played and performed well on some of Europe’s biggest stages in their careers to date.
There are some excellent young players coming through too. The Ayew brothers are developing well at Marseille, whilst Christian Atsu – now a Chelsea player – is looking a shrewd loan signing for Vitesse Arnhem, assisting them greatly with their unexpected title challenge in the Eridivisie.
So as you can see, the midfield is in excellent order. But it must be said, the team is lacking in pretty much every other area of the pitch. They have struggled to settle on a goalkeeper and regular back-four, whereas up-front Ghana are still somewhat worryingly reliant their captain Asamoah Gyan.
They were cruelly denied in the quarterfinals by Uruguay and Luis Suarez back in the 2010 tournament. If they can repeat that performance again in South America it must be viewed as a major success.
Key Man – Kwadwo Asamoah
A real stalwart in the left-sided berth for Juventus, Asamoah offers the same energetic presence in this Ghana side. His tireless running whether on the flank or in central midfield has been absolutely crucial to the Biaconeri’s unprecedented recent success.
His good work typically goes unnoticed and over time he has quietly evolved into the key cog in the Black Stars impressive midfield. The former Udinese man is capable of forming a dynamic middle three with Muntari and Essien, but with Ghana’s plethora of exceptional central midfielders, expect him to line-up on the left-hand side. From this position Ghana’s orthodox 4-5-1 system should allow Asamoah license to burst forward and effect the game in more advanced areas.
Such is his energy and endeavor, he’ll have no qualms about working back for the team either!