Weekend Roundup


The Rock had a good outing for Sunderland this weekend


So I watched the Sunderland vs Manchester City game and I have to say that John Mensah will be a fantastic inclusion to the Black Stars if he is fit during the World Cup. Clearly, he is our most experienced defender but I had taken his play for granted. He is clearly our best defender and I thought the pace of the premiership could cause one or two embarrasing moments for him but in this game he stood tall. He seems to be adjusting.

On the other hand, the man who is never far from controversy, Sulley Muntari gave more ammo to his critics. I mean getting sent off after only two minutes on the field does not necessarily indicate professionalism. It also suggests a certain indiscipline and lack of accountability in a game Inter Milan went on to lose. They led in the second half but quickly lost the plot and Muntari’s dismissal at 1-1 while giving away a penalty and the go-ahead goal certainly made their lives more difficult. I think coming on the backs of his exclusion from the Ghana National team, his recent suspension, this is a further blot on his season and his career. The Black Stars coach must seriously ask the question. Is this a player the team can rely on for the duration of a tournament? I THINK NOT!

In the same league as Muntari, Kwadwo Asamoah provided the winning goal for his team. Asamoah is proving to be a name a team can trust. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie is on the bench tonight against ‘how the mighty have fallen’ Liverpool. Let’s hope he gets a run. In France, Asamoah Gyan is still scoring in France. Keep it up son. And main man Junior Agogo scored in Cyprus over the weekend. Cyprus? C’mon man. For a full roundup of scorers in foreign leagues, check this out

In injury news, Michael Essien announced this week he had a setback but is working diligently to be fit. We wish him well. Isaac Vorsah is still out and Opoku Agyemang is not going to be at the World Cup. 

Finally, Dominic Adiyiah who I hope gets a fair chance to impress us at the World Cup was voted Young Player of the Year at the GLO CAF awards. Congratulations. If you want to watch the Ghana vs. Germany game filli filli and you don’t have a ticket be prepared to look for scalpers. Or else, you’ll be settling for watching it at the fan parks, or on old fashioned radio.

Post Match Analysis Ghana v Bosnia


Sulley Muntari silenced his critics with a superb goal and then went quiet the rest of the game


This match felt like one of those times in Secondary School where we were practising under the palava hut for a singing competition. We were awful in rehearsals!!! But we put in the effort in hopes that we were actually improving. Sometimes we couldn’t quite see the improvements in rehearsals but we got to the main show and it wasn’t half as bad as we thought. 

Having said that, we were crap on the night. I don’t know how else to put it. I guess I could put a coat of sugar on it but I refuse. No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, the meat also known as pork, is still that, a pig. We started the game off pretty well and even went ahead in the match courtesy of some clinical finishing from the prodigal son, Sulley Muntari. The game went downhill after Kwadwo Asamoah’s injury in the 35th minute. I am not sure whether the two are related but my guess is yes. After Asamoah left, we started losing possession, we lost our shape  and ultimately allowed the Bosnians back into the game and just before half-time the Bosnians who didn’t waste time trying to play through the middle made one of their direct attacks pay off with the equalizer. They went on to punish our somewhat slack marking in the second half with a shot that stand-in keeper Adjei couldn’t handle. 

A few other observations on the night

There was no penetration on the right with Prince Tagoe and if the coach is looking to play him as anything but a striker this performance may have Milo looking elsewhere. 

Dede Ayew does not seem comfortable on the right. He came on in the second half and much like the game against Cote d’ Ivoire in the CAN, he didn’t do much on the right. Of course, he had to be put on the right as Sulley was on the pitch. 

Sulley Muntari once again showed Ghanaians why he can be invaluable at the Mundial. He also showed us why he can be so ineffective as a player. He took his chance well and scored a stunner of a goal. Other than that, his other contributions were to wear the captain’s armband, almost break a Bosnian player’s ankle with a tough challenge from behind the back, and leave David Addy totally isolated as the left wing back. Sulley’s gifts attacking wise are not in question. However, the beauty of football is its two phases: attack and defense. Let’s just say the Minister of Defense J. H. Smith has nothing to fear from Sulley in any future government reshuffles. 

Otherwise, Lee Addy continued to make the case for starting in the back four, Matthew Amoah continued to provide evidence as to why he shouldn’t be picked, Derek Boateng was fine but considering all the noise advocating his return, I didn’t see much and boy we may need some of our senior men back. 

All in all, it was a good test whose usefulness will be evident in the World Cup inshallah. 

It’s 99 days to Ghana’s first match. The countdown continues.

Ghana v Bosnia


Great Wall of China? Nah, some wall in Bosnia, site of Ghana's friendly


Ok, so right out of the gate, I know nothing about the Bosnian team. I do know the capital of Bosnia is Sarajevo though and wouldn’t you know it, that’s where the game is going to be played. It is probably more well-known as the site of aerial bombardment in the 90s by NATO forces. According to the tourist guides though, the only sorties these days are from commercial flights. For those thinking of taking a honeymoon, lover’s moon or whatevermoon there in the future, here are the attractions.

Other than that, my research reveals their best player is someone whose name rhymes with gecko. That may suggest he’s light on his feet, slick in his movements and will crawl up any concrete wall. Our players are made up of flesh however and we hope Dzeko will not breach their wall. 

Their star players including this pseudo-reptilian guy play in Germany. They are purported to have a similar style to the Serbians who are in our World Cup group. The fact that they play in Germany may be a good thing as we kill two birds with one friendly. Either way, I figure the more European teams we play in the run-up to the world cup, the better our chances of progressing from our group would be. That’s why I wasn’t too sad when the originally announced match against Paraguay in South Africa was cancelled. I saw no gain in many of our players traveling 10 hours – 12 hours one way for a friendly match. That would make 20- 24 hours travel in the space of three or four days. Not healthy for athletes. The FA’s coffers may well have been boosted as it was to help in showcasing one of the newly constructed stadia in South Africa but money can’t buy you everything.

On our side, we will welcome back some of the players who did not feature in the African Cup of Nations.

This will not be an easy match. Bosnia missed out on the World Cup and that may be extra motivation when playing us. My prediction is we will perform creditably as the blend of new players attempts to force their way into contention for the final squad in SA. But because we never seem to win our friendly matches I will say a score draw is in order. 

Oh and for tv listings, I hear the match is at 16.30 GMT but don’t quote me. Just sit in front of the tv from 4.30 p.m. and you should be good.

100 DAYS


Days to go to opening game of World Cup


One hundred days has become a standard of sorts coined by media as a symbolic timeframe to assess some aspects of life. One hundred days into his (insert whatever president)  administration, what has been accomplished they ask? how has the government performed? A hundred days to lent, how should we repent? One hundred days into a child’s life, see how he/she has grown. I could go on and on, some made up and others real but you catch the drift. Today, all that gets relegated like a baby’s car seat to the back as the countdown professionals remind us that we have  100 days to South Africa’s hosting of Africa’s world cup.

It feels like the tournament is sneaking up on us and then next thing you know, BAM, it’s here. At least it seems like that’s how the organizers feel as there’s still some ironing of kinks left.

There are a number of issues at this time. Can Africans afford to attend the world cup? It depends on who you ask. Jerome Valcke, FIFA vice president is in no doubt. Ask the man on the street and ehm, not so much. No moolah, they tell us. No internet access to buy tickets too. E hard oh. Is South Africa ready to host the tournament? Yes. No. Maybe so. South Africa’s deputy president is definitely not about to sell his country short. But it’s not just the politicians. Perhaps the most important part of the equation, THE FANS is in place. 

And what about places for the teams to stay? Are they ready? England’s is not but is this a case of Anglo-Saxon hysteria of the ‘other’s’ inabilities? After all, Fabio Capello is confident the base will be ready. Other countries residences are good to go. Nevertheless, current assessments may be irrelevant as we are assured that by June 11, everything will be in place.

In the meantime, this week presents the last chance for a while for the 32 qualified teams to do further assessments of their teams. Ghana is playing Bosnia in a friendly tomorrow in Sarajevo and I am looking forward to seeing how the older players like Sulley Muntari and John Mensah integrate with the Nations Cup squad. The injuries that ravaged the team prior to the Nations Cup have reared its head once again. Sadly, one of the bright young players, Opoku Agyemang will miss the world cup. Prince Boateng who is yet to play for the Stars will not play tomorrow due to injury. Quincy Owusu Abeyie, whose run of form at Portsmouth earned him a call up to the Bosnia game is also out. 

Speaking of players, here are the top 50 players at this time, according to the leader. Essien makes the top 10.