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FEATURE: Ghana vrs Montenegro- My expectations

Published on: 04 March 2014

Podgorica! That’s where the Ghana’s Black Stars play next.  I bet you might be hearing about this city for the first time huh? Well, that is the capital of Montenegro, a breakaway state from what used to be Serbia and Montenegro. That’s just about what some people know about Montenegro.

When it comes to football, there is practically nothing memorable, only that former football stars, Predrag Mijatovi? and Dejan Savi?evi?, were born there.

On the international scene, they are still infants; since acquiring full FIFA membership in 2007, this small nation with a population of about 700,000 is yet to qualify for any major tournament.

Its biggest stars are Manchester City’s Stevan Joveti? and Juventus’ Marko Vucinic, who unfortunately, is out injured and will not feature when the Black Stars engage Montenegro on March 5.

Podgorica, which in local Montenegrin means “under the little hill”, will host this friendly. A little hill it might be, but I have big expectations of this encounter.

Yes, Montenegro might not be a fancy European side; may not have a huge pedigree, but I believe it’s exactly the kind of friendly the Black Stars need.

The Black Stars will play without the pressure and tension associated with high profiled friendlies which gives them the latitude to smoothen rough edges e.g improve effectiveness on set pieces, build tactical and social cohesion as well as a winning momentum. These are my broad expectations, but I sure do have a couple of specifics.

Adams and Adam

No, that’s not a law firm, not in the least; I am referring to the two goalkeepers called up for friendly. I will expect Stephen Adams, from local side Aduana Stars, and Norway based Adam Kwarasey to share a half each for the 90 minutes duration.

Adam Kwarasey being the more experienced of the two, should start the game while Stephen Adams is eased in, for the second half.

Adam Kwarasey, who was displaced by Fatau Dauda as number one, actually enjoys a lot of sympathy amongst Ghanaian fans, that sympathy however has not blinded fans to his seeming unease and lack of confidence when he is in between the sticks for the Black Stars.

Granted he has not been given the game time to redeem himself and granted he may get just another 45 minutes in Podgorica, but in football, 45 minutes can do a whole lot. I expect that Kwarasey will show the confidence that his fans and even the technical team yearn to see. If he proves that,

for even half a game, he should be in good stead to reclaim his number one status from Fatau Dauda, who is not enjoying playing time with Orlando Pirates.

Yes, confidence is all it takes because Kwarasey has demonstrated enough technical ability, especially with his Norwegian team Strømsgodset, which he captained to win the 2013 Norwegian Championship and was named goalkeeper of the season in the process.

Then there is Stephen Adams; hero from the recently held Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa. He was one of the stand outs for Ghana in the CHAN, a tournament reserved only for domestic players.

His call up came as no surprise and the technical handlers should go a step further to cap him even if it is for 45 minutes.

That way, Adams will have been tested at a standard high enough for him to prove himself. If he does, it will go a long way to counter claims that, the level of the CHAN might not have been a good enough standard to judge his readiness.

Once Adams and Kwarasey are able to hold their own, the team would have gained, in the knowledge that there will be increased competition should South African based duo Fatau Dauda and Daniel Adjei as well as Spain based Razak Brimah return. That both Adams and Kwarasey should share the 90 minutes cannot be over emphasized.

A Pattern Please

Yes, the Black Stars have won matches recently in emphatic fashion and qualified for the World Cup, making light work of Egypt in the final play off; its true the technical team have done well, but so far, we haven’t seen a set pattern of play from the Black Stars; some of the results have been ground out due primarily to the good tactics on the day or the superior quality of the players.

Going into the World Cup, the Stars have about 3 games to practice before Ghana plays the first game against the USA on June 16. At the World Cup stage, opponents will be tougher, tactics will be shrewder, and it is my believe that, the earlier the Stars fashion out a set pattern to its strengths, the better it will be for the players to imbibe and execute it at the World Cup.

Clearly, the midfield is the Black Stars strongest point and with experienced holding midfielders like Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari; quick and hardworking wingers like Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu, Mubarak Wakaso and Albert Adomah, the Stars aren’t out of options.

It’s basically how these star players are deployed and to which pattern that could make or unmake the Stars. The technical team could decide to have a compact midfield with an Agyemang-Badu or a Wakaso to complement either of Essien or Muntari to form a base and use the wings as an outlet.

Also, the Stars should find a way of using Kwadwo Asamoah’s flair; either as a deep lying playmaker or from the wings to bolster the efforts of his mates. Whatever the Stars technical team decides, we should see a clear pattern; playing deep from the back, possessing the ball in midfield or breaking on the wings.

That is what friendlies afford you; an opportunity to tinker and try out new methods or consolidate old ones. It’s an expectation I have of the Stars, to be on top of their game, under the little hill. I know I will be watching, how about you? follow me on twitter @niithesoccerguy


This article has 12 comment(s), give your comment
  • Joe Lartey says:
    March 04, 2014 12:33 pm
    Is this fucking guy comparing Adams to a well established Adam Kwarasey?? Really?? Give the guy the respect he deserves.
  • Dan says:
    March 04, 2014 12:41 pm
    Brother Benny, I can't agree with you more. You said it all.
  • Benito says:
    March 04, 2014 01:37 pm
    If experience is anything to go by then Kingston is still the man,having been there twice,kwarasey,s reflexes are poor and appears jittery all the time,let's face it,speak the truth!!
  • Benito says:
    March 04, 2014 01:47 pm
    You don't know better than the trainers and that's fact,stop saying A A collect bribes because you cannot prove that in court.let's grow up stop this childish comments.the world cup is for players with big heart and hungry to play!!
  • Chu says:
    March 04, 2014 02:18 pm
    Good article. We dont have any pattern of play because Kwasi Appiah simply doesnt have one. That win over Egypt was a fluke. I still doubt our technical bench about tactics.
  • Chu says:
    March 04, 2014 02:23 pm
    I hereby advise Fatau to stop using his black powers cause they dont travel overseas
  • sticky straw says:
    March 04, 2014 10:59 am
    Kwasia sem kwa foolish article who should be the play maker a!!ba kwadjo asamoah my foot the guy is a defender in juventus so why playing in midfield which he always suffer a lot to play in black stars
  • benny says:
    March 04, 2014 12:26 pm
    Useless article. DAUDA displaced KWARASEY by paying bribes and by ability.Who said Kwaresey is not confident in the post, pure biase.He is a captain of a better league than Dauda and also he plays week in week out unlike Dauda who is deemed not good enough for a crap league and a minor club in South Africa. Dauda is preferred to Kwaresey and we know why. Moreover every achievement of the black stars is due to the ability of the players and nothing to do with clueless and bribe taking AA.
  • benny says:
    March 04, 2014 08:37 pm
    @asunderstandan, your chosen name says it all.Look out for the girls in your village and brag to them about being in oslo.You have never travel outside your village and here you are throwing your weight about oslo. Do understand inferiority complex? How can anyone say Kwaresey lacks confidence when as a fact he is a captain of a team in Europe. Even a two year old will not compare Ghans league to any league in Europe. How is Ghana league rated even in Africa? .
  • Ashantiman says:
    March 04, 2014 05:22 pm
    **** you and your inferriority complexity.captain a team in europé My foot. I do go to the stadium here in Oslo to watch some games sometimes on weekends.Norwegian league is not hotter Than Ghanain league.I hardly understand Ghanains our gist of argument.How can you blankly say that. Kinson John Mensah are too Old to play.How Old was Franco Baresci Wien he featured for Italy in America in 94 ' world cup..?How Old is Buffon?Kwarasey is not any Way comparable to Dauda.Best keeper to guide and guard the post is Kinson not forgetting his experience .John Mensah Should not be forgetting.
  • spellBOUND says:
    March 04, 2014 03:40 pm
    benito, the absence of evidence isn't necessary the evidence of absence. benny has summed it all up. if there was EVER a case to be made that you don't need a quality coach to win games, AA would be it. anyone claiming otherwise is clueless. after years as an assistant coach under serbian coaches, AA is still tactically bankrupt. i was among the major who praised his appointment as a blackman leading blacks. but after what I've seen, it may have been premature. though none us incorruptible, a non ghanian coach would not make this a "family business."
  • benny says:
    March 04, 2014 02:44 pm
    @benito, You need to be logical in your reasoning.Can you justify why Dauda is preferred to Kwaresey? The same goal keeping trainer who trains the black stars trains Dauda on the private.Is this not conflict of interest and for AA to come with a ludicrous statement that Dauda is his no1 when this guy is only warming bench tells it all. What does AA knows? He was appointed by the FA .He did not get the job presenting his Cv .AA is just lucky with good materials. He is clueless. Some people on this forum makes better player selection than he does. Kwaresey's reflexes are poor you say? How about Dauda.At least Kwaresey had captain a team to win a league in Europe