Ghana named its provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup over a week ago. By June 1, the squad will be pruned to 23. For those doing the math, seven players will be axed. And no, they do not die as a result.
At first glance, I merely dismissed the names as the usual suspects (save for Kevin Prince Boateng) and thought that there were no real surprises. A second look at the list and I thought, WHHOOAAAAAA!!!!! What a dilemma for the coach? If Milovan Rajevac does not have his vats of Panadol or Ibuprofen ready, he better put Bayer on speed dial for it is going to be one tough job to cut seven players. I think four out of those seven cuts will be downright excruciating. Why do I say that?
Take a look. One keeper will certainly not go. My bet is Stephen Adams will not be chosen. I think this is probably the easiest prediction. I believe two defenders will not make the 23. My sense is Rahim Ayew’s lack of regular playing time at his club costs him a place. Even though Rajevac has been fond of him, he is more able to overlook Ayew than some of the other defenders. That leaves the left back position a bit vulnerable in the event Hans-Adu Sarpei gets injured. That’s nothing a change in formation can’t fix though. We would probably change to a 3-5-1 formation if that happens. Also, while Eric Addo is listed as a midfielder, his presence in South Africa would be as a defender. Let’s not kid ourselves. Jonathan Mensah would be the other defender who would probably be on the bubble but my prediction is he squeaks in.
Rajevac has an embarrassment of riches in midfield. In fact, I think he has a much stronger midfield to choose from for this world cup than his predecessor Ratomir Djukovic had four years ago. Anthony Annan, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre “Dede” Ayew have all emerged to give the regulars four years ago some competition. Add Kevin-Prince Boateng to that list. Assuming all five players go to South Africa, the others to join him would be an uninjured if not match-fit Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari. That leaves Derek Boateng, Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Laryea Kingston, and Haminu Dramani out in the South African cold.
As for forwards, there are five listed. I consider Quincy Owusu-Abeyie a forward who could be an attacking midfielder or winger so he has some versatility. I say Rajevac takes four forwards with Prince Tagoe the odd man out.
So Tagoe it is.
So, to recap, the final cuts will be Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Haminu Dramani, Laryea Kingston, Derek Boateng, Prince Tagoe, Stephen Adams and Rahim Ayew. Take that to the bank.
And you didn’t even need an oracle on this one. Just Coach Blackstarsfan.
Now if only Rajevac can figure out who the starting 11 will be composed of. It never stops, does it?