Ghana coach, James Akwasi Appiah, will on May 13 submit his provisional 30-man squad to the Ghana Football Association (GFA,) which will subsequently be pruned down to 23 for the football world cup in Brazil a month after.
There have been intense speculations among football loving fans, in the media and among pundits and connoisseurs of the game as to the kind of players the coach will call.
And most of the speculations have come along with reasons ranging from “tournament experience to putting fear in the opposition.”
But as it is the case with any national team call up the world over, coaches or selectors always consider certain factors before calling up players and Today Sports staff writer, Yussif Alhassan Uthman, outlines five (5) things Akwasi Appiah must consider before selecting his men for Brazil.
Activity at club level
National team coaches don’t have the luxury of spending time with their players and so they must depend on player’s activities at their respective clubs to invite them for national duties.
There is no place for inactive players in any national team across the globe and Ghana shouldn’t be an exception. If indeed, Akwasi Appiah is bent on performing at the Brazil tournament, then, he has some tough calls to make because a lot of his trusted players are either struggling with injuries or not having playing time.
The likes of Isaac Vorsah, John Mensah, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Boye are all struggling with injuries at their clubs.
But can Akwasi Appiah axe them?
That is a question which lingers on the minds of football fans in Ghana, especially when other players like Edwin Gyimah, Afriyie Acquah, Rashid Sumaila, Nuru Sulley, Abeiku Ainooson, have all proven this season at their respective clubs that they have what it takes to play for the national team.
Tactics Another thing coach Akwasi Appiah must consider before selecting his players is his own tactics. As it is said, “A coach is as good as his players” and no matter how tactically genius a coach is, if he has the wrong players, he is bound to fail.
Black Stars coach, Akwasi Appiah is a fan of the 4-2-3-1 formation with variation but has sometimes fallen victim of putting square pegs in round holes, especially when it comes to the 3 creative players behind the target man.
Tournament like the World Cup is not a platform where any coach can experiment with tactics and players and so there will be the need for Akwasi Appiah to call the right players for the tactics that he is going to deploy mainly in Brazil.
Per the kind of active players at his disposal, the 4-5-1 the 4-4-2, and the 3-5-2 will be ideal but as to whether he will be ready to change what he believes in or not, is a question for another day.
Discipline and work ethics
Discipline is key to the success of any team. The French team of 1998 was a classical example. Their coach, Amir Jacquare, dropped Eric Cantona and David Ginola as a result of the duo indiscipline and the positive effect the coach’s actions on the team was there for all to see—they won the World Cup beating Brazil in the grand finale.
Akwasi Appiah needs to consider only players who are disciplined and are willing to work as a team because football is a team sports.
We need players, who are ready to put their body on the line, even when their colleagues commit errors.
That has been the hallmark of all the teams that have been successful in recent years.
Alternative plan (Plan B)
Black Stars coach, James Akwasi Appiah, must also consider an alternative plan before he selects his final 23, both in terms of tactics and personnel.
The main reasons why coaches sit on the benches of teams are to be able to read the game and be able to mount strategies to neutralise the opposition.
That can be done by either changing the tactics or by changing the personnel in a game situation.
But can a coach effect those changes when he does not have the players to execute that readily available?
Certainly not and hence, Akwasi Appiah needs to consider that factor before it’s too late.
The future Akwasi Appiah would not have been talking about experienced players had someone not given the current players the opportunity in the past.
Ghana owes a lot to past coaches, like Claude Leroy, Ratomir Djukovic and Milovan Rajevac who gave players like Kwadwo Asamoah, Dede Ayew, Isaac Vorsah etc., the chance to play for the Black Stars at a very younger age despite several bashings they received.
Those players have now become the backbone of the team and Akwasi Appiah has to do his selection not only to perform in Brazil but also with future tournaments in mind. After all, a maximum of 16 players will be enough for the whole tournament in Brazil.
And so why not give young players like Seidu Salifu, Clifford Aboagye, Ebenezer Assifouah, Joseph Attamah Larweh and Lawrence Lartey, who were all instrumental in the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, the chance to, at least, have a feel of the World Cup atmosphere so that in Russia in 2018, these lads will not be new to the atmosphere.
Remember Ronaldo in 1994 Brazil squad!
He was instrumental in their campaign in 1998 and was even more vital in 2002 when he helped Brazil won the World Cup.
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