Alright all you God-fearing fans of the Black Stars. Not sure what you originally planned on praying for today at church, but please include the team in your prayers. I believe my muslim brothers and sisters paved the way on Friday so I think we should cover all bases.
The game is going to be hot. I like our chances though. I like that the narrative is that we are underdogs in this match as I think it gives that added motivation to any competitive sportsman. In order to win, Ghana will have to display mental toughness. They will have to combine that with some tactical discipline, efficiency in front of goal, team spirit and possibly some luck.
By mental toughness, I mean do not get frustrated when the referee deems every tackle you go into a foul. Don’t be frustrated when the hard tackles by the Angolan defenders go unpunished. There will likely be vibrations in the stadium and your ears may be ringing but quieten that beating heart, be calm and take Kwadwo Asamoah’s attitude of the fans never scored a goal, made a tackle or prevented a goal.
While tactics are important, I think it is equally important to talk scenarios. It is vital that we don’t concede in the first 45 minutes. Knockout round games usually start off in a cagey manner and while looking for a fast start to match the atmosphere, the Angolans will not be kamikazes and go all out. I think they’ll start off trying to feel the game. So make sure you keep the ball in front of you and strike them on the flanks when you can and land the classic rope a dope sucker punch a la Ali. In the event we go up 1-0 you basically have to switch it up, leave one man up top and then hit the Angolans on the counter. In the event we go down a goal, there’s no need to panic. Just play your passing game and play down the wings with specific instructions to the strikers not to take the extra touch before attempting crosses.
As for tactics, I think the players were very comfortable playing 4-4-2 and we should stick with that. The Angolans will flood the midfield and I think keeping four midfielders with an Agyemang Badu pairing with Asamoah is the way we should go. While it sacrifices Asamoah’s attacking, the focus should be on the unit and not one player’s individual brilliance.
As for good luck, maybe one of the bad parts of the pitch gives the wrong bounce to a defender only for Amoah or Gyan to pounce!!!
Otherwise, turn to prayer!!!