Reasons why Ghana cannot win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations

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For the first time ever, Ghana lost an African Cup of Nations (AFCON) group match after taking the lead. They suffered a 2-1 defeat to Senegal and things don’t seem to be improving anytime soon as they face Algeria next.

“It was a difficult match for us. We were playing against experienced and very physical players. When we played the ball along the ground it was good. We opened the scoring and had good chances. We don’t want this result that has happened but I’m sure as you saw the players showed good mentality and we hope it will be the same next game,” said Ghana manager Avram Grant after the match.

Grant was appointed as the Black Stars latest manager in November and only had six weeks to prepare the squad for AFCON 2015. The 59-year-old took the team to train in Spain and they played two friendlies behind closed doors against Portuguese club Olhanense and Eredivisie team SC Cambuur. The former Chelsea manager has placed an importance on fitness and changed the side’s formation which has always played with four in the back to a 3-5-2. The four-time winners of the tournament looked sloppy against the Lions of Teranga. Daniel Amartey, Mohammed Awal and Jonathan Mensah struggled to play as a unit in the back and the pivot duo of Rabiu Mohammed and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu allowed Senegal to dominate the match with their poor play. Unlike most Ghanaian teams, Grant preferred for the Black Stars to sit deep and try to counter-attack for goalscoring opportunities instead of maintaining possession and dictating the game. They only had two shots on target and Andre Ayew scored a penalty in the 12th minute off of Christian Atsu being fouled by goalie Bouna Coundoul.

Captain and striker Asamoah “Baby Jet” Gyan missed the first match due to a small case of malaria and is doubtful to play anytime soon. His normal backup, Abdul Majeed Waris didn’t make the 23-man roster due to injury. With them out, Jordan Ayew was the lead striker for Ghana and did not make an impact on the game. Also, arguably the country’s best player, Juventus central midfielder, left-back and wing-back Kwadwo Asamoah also didn’t make the team due to him still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in November. With the team’s two best players missing, that might be the main reason to why Grant played so pragmatic. Jordan’s big brother Andre is the current captain and he displayed leadership skills barking commands and trying to help his teammates stay focused, but they couldn’t keep a clean sheet as Stoke City striker Mame Diouf scored in the 58th minute and Moussa Sow scored at the end of the match in the 93rd minute.

“We showed good spirit and we mustn’t let our heads drop. Of course I’m disappointed with the defeat but I know we have good players and can put in good performances. Today Senegal had a bit of luck in the second half that we were lacking,” said Andre Ayew following the match.

Luck isn’t the reason Senegal won. It’s because they were the aggressive team from beginning to end and dictated the match by controlling the midfield and taking advantage of Ghana’s weak defense. If Ghana could not control the ball against the Lions then Algeria will create bigger issues as they’re currently the best team on the continent and fresh off a 3-1 victory over South Africa. Before the tournament began, Group C was named the ‘group of death’ and Ghana may be the first team to be buried when they face the Desert Warriors on Friday.

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One Response

  1. Aman Bansal February 1, 2015

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