Despite qualifying from the group stages in their previous two World Cups, Ghana never looked like making the round of sixteen this time around.
From squabbles in the camp to outrageous defensive errors, if something could go wrong, it did go wrong. Why did Kwesi Appiah’s team fall so short
They Lost Their First Game
With matches against powerhouses Germany and Portugal to follow, the opener against the USA was always going to set the tone for the West African side’s World Cup. Although they showed creditable spirit to come back from Clint Dempsey’s quicksilver opener, the momentum was lost when John Brooks put the Yanks straight back into the lead. One could argue their campaign was doomed from that moment
John Boye was almost mesmerically hapless.
The list of charges against the Ghanaian defender, from three games alone, runs to the following. Got his feet in such a tangle as Clint Dempsey ran past him only 30 second into the game that he nearly fell over twice as Dempsey put the ball into the net; kicking Dempsey in the head and breaking his nose during the same game; providing the shoulder into which Thomas Muller crashed in order to damage his own face at the end of the Germany game; miskicking one clearance so badly that it ballooned over his head into his own goal; miskicking another clearance so it almost did exactly the same thing. After winning only 2 of the 6 tackles he attempted during the tournament, with team-mates like that, who needs enemies?
A Reluctance To Turn To Youth
As the likes of Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari reach the end of their Ghana careers, it would be wrong to think that there are no replacements available. Jordan Ayew was used only sporadically during the tournament, while Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu featured even less often. These players will have to step up to the plate in future, but they were not given the opportunities this time around despite Ayew having scored a hat-trick on the eve of the finals.
They Took Their Eye Off The Ball And Onto The Bank
While football players are known for their greediness, the fact that Ghana’s players insisted that they receive their playing bonus in cash, before the last game, and gave rise to scenes that involved a plane full of money arriving in Brazil before being escorted to the team hotel, where players were ecstatic to see their money arriving – John Boye, in particular, seemed to be kissing his share. This was a far cry from the story earlier in the tournament that saw Sulley Muntari handing bank notes out in Brazilian favelas. Either way, money turned the Ghanaian heads.
Player Power Went Wrong
The exclusion of Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng from the final game was as a result of the players reportedly indulging in some behaviour that – if true – can be generous be described as silly. The team didn’t help themselves after the game, either, by not talking to the printed press and reacting to their exit with a considerable lack of grace.
For a team that had won so many fans at previous tournaments, the Black Stars were more a Black Cloud as they left Brazil this time around. There is much to do, and much to learn, but there is talent in abundance and a base to work with. Ghana will be back.