By Patrick Akoto
Ex-Ghana international Joe Addo has expressed surprise at the slow progress of Jonathan Mensah, urging the defender to take the leadership mantle at the back ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Mensah was touted as one of the brightest talent to have emerged from Africa after he excelled heavily during Ghanaâ€™s gold winning feat at the 2009 FIFA World Youth Championship in Egypt.
The 23-year-old, who graduated with Andre Ayew, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Daniel Opare, Samuel Inkoom and David Addy, has failed to command a regular position in the Black Stars.
The Africans boast of an array of midfield stars and prolific attacking option in star man Asamoah Gyan and Abdul Majeed Waris.
But the central defense has been a major headache for Kwesi Appiah as he sizes up his squad for the global piece.
With experienced John Mensah unlikely to make the cut, there are fears the country could crack under the burden of expectation with no recognized leader at the back.
However the 42-year-old, who played for a decade for the West Africans, is shocked at the playerâ€™s ostensible slow progression but has charged him to step up to the plate.
â€œMay be I shouldn't say this publicly but it needs to be said. One player who has disappointed me is Jonathan Mensah,â€ he told Accra-based Happy FM
â€œHe graduated with Andre, Agyemang-Badu and others but they are all key members of the current set-up.
â€œBut that cannot be said of Jonathan. I am expecting a lot from him which I have not seen yet.
â€œSometimes when you make such statement, family and friends misconstrue your true intentions and mostly misinterpret what you truly mean.
â€œHe should be the leader at the back. Not John Boye or Isaac Vorsah. I passed that onto Sammy Kuffuor, who in turned passed it onto John Mensah.
â€œI expect Jonathan to be that leader now. Donâ€™t forget he was at the last World Cup.
â€œThat boy is tactically and technically gifted. He is very good in the air, on the ground; can play with both the left and right foot and very strong. But for some strange reasons, he has not really commanded that space around him.
â€œHe is one of the few players who has had many chances with the Black Stars. Heâ€™s been to two or Nations Cup and so I think itâ€™s about time he took over the mantle.â€
The former Ashantigold centre-back has made 18 appearances for French side Evian this term.