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Ghana's World Cup squad: Did Kwesi Appiah get it right?

Published on: 17 May 2014

In sharp contrast to the usual behind the desk, sheets of paper presentation, Ghana’s national team coach looked every bit like a modern man; dressed in dapper white shirt, protected by a sharp tailored jacket and pants, Kwesi Appiah was nicely suited for the announcement of the famous 30 … no wait …26 man provisional World Cup squad via a multimedia presentation; projector, remote and all.

If fashion and technology were any indicators, the list had to have something good in store. Soon, he had exhausted the list, and at the mention of the 26th player, I smiled, Kwesi had me fully satisfied; now that was rare, considering that I have been one of his fiercest critics.

However on this day, Appiah’s ability to balance trust and experience with youth and form deserves credit.

It is not uncommon to hear coaches give politically correct interviews and tough sound bites with high flying criteria for call ups, but at the end of the day, most usually go with players they can trust in critical positions and risk in peripheral positions.

That is exactly how Appiah balanced his squad. A quick dissection will make it all the more clearer.


Two of the goalkeepers clearly made it on merit: Adam Larsen Kwarasey, captain of Norwegian side, Strømsgodset; solid in Norway yet nervy in the Black Stars post.

There is this ridiculous theory that, his shaky performances is down to voodoo! True or not, Kwarasey has done enough at club level to merit his place. It was an easy pick, all he has to do is to overcome his mental block and he will be number one.

Then there is Stephen Adams of Aduana Stars, I mean really, was anybody expecting Adams after his impressive 2014 CHAN outing to miss out? I guess not, plus Appiah would have considered him as his “local” card to satisfy the “localists” movement.

Then there is South Africa based, Fatau Dauda. Fatau was clearly “rewarded” for manning post and qualifying the team to the World Cup. Ordinarily, all the heat he generated warming bench at Orlando Pirates could have burnt his chance to make the team, but apparently his enthusiasm and recent experience as number one goalie was hard to gloss over.

Only Injury would have kept him out.


Now, this is the department that generated the biggest controversy. Like I mentioned earlier, coaches do not joke with the spine of their teams. Central defense requires not only talented players, but leaders who can use their experience to organize the back line.

It is the reason why, absurd as it is, Appiah and his technical team prior to the announcement considered former captain John Mensah, now battling match fitness and Isaac Vorsah, who hasn’t played competitively in over a year.

Appiah has come under scathing attack for not including any local defender, especially those who excelled at the 2014 CHAN, but you can understand Appiah’s apprehension at the lack of leadership and experience, it’s the reason he has gone for players he’s familiar with and can trust; Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye and Harrison Afull.

The last of the bunch of 8 defenders, Jeffrey Schlupp, Appiah’s risk card, certainly brings in quality at left back. Schlupp, who contributed to Leicester City’s promotion to the English Premier League, will bring simple, unfashionable defending, combined with pace and power; ingredients, close watchers and more importantly, Appiah, is ready to gamble on.


11 Midfielders! Phew! Talk about being spoiled for riches! Based solely on experience, it is no surprise that Appiah has kept faith with AC Milan duo, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari.

Despite his poor season, Essien provides options in defensive midfield, where he can provide a calming presence, indeed, when push comes to shove, he can even cover at Centre back.

Muntari’s two World Cup experiences could also be vital in the middle of the park.  Beyond experience, there were slots for youthful players who would run their socks off; destruct and construct at the same time; Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Mubarak Wakaso, Andre Ayew and work horse Rabiu Mohammed, will all be on hand to support the experienced Milan duo.

Parma’s in form player, Afriyie Acquah, a “mini Essien”, with boundless energy, provides a backup for Rabiu, who just returned to competitive action.

Then there are the wingers; Albert Adomah, in the team for his direct English style and crosses, Christian Atsu for his guile, and of course Kwadwo Asamoah not only for his consistent form for Juventus, but his ability to play across the left and in the middle.

Then there is David Accam who is in red hot form, scoring 12 goals in 13 games this year for his Swedish team, Helsingborg.

I had written about him but I wasn’t cork-sure Appiah would give him a look in, but I guess Appiah learned the Waris lesson.

Abdul Majeed Waris was in similar form back in 2012 for his Swedish team, but Appiah overlooked him for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa only for Waris to turn important scorer of goals in the World Cup qualifiers. You know what they say about those who make the same mistake twice…., yes, Appiah would want you calling him that.


In attack, Captain Asamoah Gyan’s name naturally will be the first to jump off the sheet, followed by his strike partner Abdul Majeed Waris.

The only surprise here is Kevin Prince Boateng, listed as a striker though he is a midfielder by trade; yes yes, call him opportunist, but Boateng will surely be an outlet for goals.

Then there is baby Ayew, Jordan; who staked a late claim with 4 goals in the last month for Sochaux in the French League. Was that enough to be picked ahead of Richmond Boakye Yiadom?

Is the composition of the list right? We will know the next time we see Kwesi Appiah directing affairs, not from a conference room but on the touchline, hopefully his tactics will be as exotic as his multimedia presentation.  Twitter @niithesoccerguy


This article has 37 comment(s), give your comment
  • benny says:
    May 17, 2014 10:19 am
    Whether got it right or wrong is immaterial. Nobody knows the strategy he is going to deploy. Mourinho got rid of Mata who was a pivotal Player in Chelsea before the second coming of Mourinho. Mourinho thought Mata doesn't fit his plans. We wait and see, only time will tell. If we best USA and Germany nobody will be debating this topic.
  • Kwame says:
    May 17, 2014 10:30 am
    I love the squad. It's perfect, now let's see if he gets his tactics right. I wish them all the best.
  • benny says:
    May 17, 2014 01:05 pm
    Union leader make your comment minus me. I mean it. Anybody associated with that prick called selfmade whom you fear is my enemy.
  • Nana Yaw says:
    May 18, 2014 04:22 pm
    spot on, buh, @ least he including 2 of da under 20s could hv been a grt deal buh all da same grt squad
  • GHANABA 1 says:
    May 18, 2014 04:57 am
    I wonder if this Guy is in the Black Star squad for Brazil. If not then Kwesi Appiah has got it wrong,I wish all to watch him playing.He is so good at Left full back and attacking as well
  • GHANABA 1 says:
    May 18, 2014 05:01 am
    I mean Baba Abdul Rahman from Greuther Furth in Germany
  • Rokavilla says:
    May 17, 2014 10:36 pm
    Our formation shud be 4,2,3,1. We can play Essien in central defence to be the commander. N play Rabiu n Kwadwo infront of the defence. Ayew, Prince n Warris behind Gyan,n,das,a strong formation
  • selfmade says:
    May 17, 2014 10:54 pm
  • selfmade says:
    May 17, 2014 09:00 pm
    @ navy... If u think Bob and blazer is me, then u are HAVE PILES ON YOUR eyes due to excessive eating of cheap food haha!!! I have some dog food here and I ll let u and your stupid whorish MOTHER COME FOR IT hahaa!!!! KWASIA panyin BIBA haha
  • selfmade says:
    May 17, 2014 08:25 pm
    @ navy... ABOA like u !! Me muted!!! U Lil ass bum ass NIGGA!! Read all your posts and tell me the meaning in it!! I shit on u and if u think u can get to me, u FUCKING HAVE A CONSTIPATION!! U vibes are weak and u can say nothing than repeating your bullshits!! Am here now and come and engaged me!!! FUCKING RETARDED SON OF A DOPE FIEND!! haha
  • selfmade says:
    May 17, 2014 08:28 pm
    @ paradox... Kwasia !! Fucking zambia caveman hahaa!! They just released u from your BUSH and want to interact with humans beings!! Am done with your nasty Bantu ass and I have no time for A BIG HEADED MONSTER with such a CROOKIER- HEAD hahaa!! Look yourself vvery well and tell me if u are different from the FILTYHY ZAMBIA CHIMPANZEE hahaa!! Fucking lil piece of KALU SHIT!! GET THE **** OUTTA OF HERE haha
  • selfmade says:
    May 17, 2014 08:55 pm
    @ paradox.. Shut your fucking mouth up and go find some CHEAP ZAMBIAN PUSSY!! Retarded Zambian moron!! u engaged me? Where? Do u think to engaged A ZAMBIAN BABOON LIKE U hahaa!! Am too smart for and I ll never engaged u but I ll called one of your stupid cousin to slap the shit out of your BIG HEADED GORILLA FACE MOTHERFUCKER!! Your FUCKING UNBALANCED HEAD LIKE MBESUMAH FOOTBAL BOOT!! Catch me if u can, u BANTU SLUT!! hahaa
  • navy seal USA says:
    May 17, 2014 06:33 pm
    Paradox that motherfucker as nģigga Selfmade is muted. fuckin prick try to use namrs bobby and blazer, big boss. Imon give it to his useless dad and mum..
    May 17, 2014 03:45 pm
  • bobby and blazer says:
    May 17, 2014 03:29 pm
    The best way to answer a fooooooooooooooool like navy seal USA is to keep quiet.
  • compliments says:
    May 17, 2014 02:40 pm
    Would you have any chance to write what you are saying now if the journalist didn't make this analysis ?
  • paradox says:
    May 17, 2014 02:41 pm
    @ navy seal. I once took on selfmade wen he insulted me on Zambia's football website. he is nothing. he keeps repeating same things. I engaged him without insulting him bak. he repeatedly insulted my mother in order to contain me.
  • Samedge says:
    May 17, 2014 02:56 pm
    @Benito, relax for Jordan Ayew is of the three players to be dropped. I personally like the sqauad but i wish Akwasi Appiah had picked the 23 man squad straight-up.
  • navy seal USA says:
    May 17, 2014 01:24 pm
    BREAKING NEWS. ....... SELFMAFE maame twe so papapapaaaaaaaaaaaasssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa deep breath. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Selfmade maame twe ba twe pinyin twe wofa.
  • anokwale says:
    May 17, 2014 01:30 pm
    At this point, we should note that this is a good team. It is likely that Sumulia, Acquah and Adomah will go home. Jordan and Inkoom should also go home but he does not want to spoil team chemistry by creating an Ayew brothers controversy and Inkoom has experience so he might get to stick around.
  • navy seal USA says:
    May 17, 2014 01:31 pm
    Guys l don't know shit-abot futbl.l only sneak up to insult selfmade. Serve his ponkass . If anyone see the name bobby and blazer, Big boss it's fukn name ass hole Selfmade uses when he is feeling the fuckn heat . Selfmade you ask for it. You gotit. lmon wop yo punk ass sucker.
  • Kenneth County says:
    May 17, 2014 01:35 pm
    Thumbs up bro. Eben. Indeed all that remain now is how he is going to use these massive talents at his disposal. Not only that he has to ensure the youngsters and veterans in the team gell well on and off the field. But for now his greatest test is the final squad. He must show boldness and pick those who are fit and in-form and those whom he think their general contribution will lift the team to success. What he must not do is to pick players based sentiments or nostalgia.
  • jerry says:
    May 17, 2014 01:39 pm
    Ghanaian's media chat too much before the provisional squad was not released you the same media sat down and make your own squad and bring it out now that the coaches has released their provisional squad out you the same ghanaian's media or journalism sitting ur assess somewhere asking question that doesnt make any sense so which players the coaches should have come out with this is the time 25 millions Ghanaian's should throw our support behind the players the coaches have pick and pray for em to achieve what we ghanaians are looking than to sit there and asking so many questions about the coach selection
  • Spirit says:
    May 17, 2014 01:40 pm
    Once upon a time we can recall vorsah and Jonh mensah also came to the world cup without the leadership skills at the back we now think they have and they went on to buildit. Most people were expecting the likes of sammy kuffour just like we are doing now but we have come to accept John mensah and vorsah to deliver. Why cant we give this young ones the chance to find their way around. Mind you andre ayew would not have been who he is now if we were too scared to give him a chance and that applies to everyone. This guys have won the U20 world cup so give them the chance . its their time.
  • navy seal USA says:
    May 17, 2014 02:07 pm
    Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Aponkye Wo papa Koteboto Wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade Selfmade Selfmade Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Selfmade wo maame twerrrrrtrrtttrrrrtrrrtrrrrrrrffrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • Saxcee says:
    May 17, 2014 01:22 pm
    @Benny, some kids like us here are looking up to you for leadership. This is now what we expect to see. Don't let that guy drag you to his level and make you look like what he is. You are here for soccer sake so just read and make your comments then leave. What will you gain from insulting that dude ?
  • john akpa says:
    May 17, 2014 12:58 pm
    Ghana can surprise Germany if they are out of form or underrate us. If things don't go well in Brazil and the GFA decide on a new coach like Rajevac they better do it early so he has plenty of time to prepare the team for the 2018 WC qualifiers.
  • Waveynavy says:
    May 17, 2014 12:48 pm
    This ain't time to test new players and give chances. That's basically why Lucas is good n was never part of the Brazilian squad.. Accam, Jeffrey and Rabiu should be out. NB: These three players are amazingly talented; we just can't send 26 n its happens Kojo Asamoah can play LB, ayew and wakaso is enough for LW cos sulley can sweep n Harrison Afful overlaps n so Accam can be out until enough experience with the team. We have enough central midfielders to worry about Rabiu's exclusion. Kelvin can fall back n Jordan has the same capabilities. My issue is with Incoom and Opare who are potential card victims n make some mistakes at the RB. But I'll take out Jeffrey until he plays more tournament with the black stars to know their style of play. The rest know how to play each other n won't be much of a surprise. They can ensure proper field communications n cause a surprise
  • kobby says:
    May 17, 2014 12:40 pm
    That's all we have the coach have to mark use them
  • Benito says:
    May 17, 2014 12:04 pm
    For now this is best we have,I would rather have him pick boakye over Jordan if form is anything to go getting the players to follow his tactics for each game is the headache.
  • Union Leader says:
    May 17, 2014 12:10 pm
    That's the way to go Benny. No more " here in the UK reference" Personally, I think he was that close in getting it right My only problem is the complete omission of Isaac Vorsah from either the provisional 26 or the 4 stand byes. Yes he has been inactive for a year but he's well now and some players only need just a handful of games to get back to normal fitness. He could have prove his fit in some of the upcoming exhibition games . Without him on board, there's absolutely no leadership at back, and the mere thought of it scares me to death . However on the flip side, honestly speaking I think our weakest link in this whole thing is the Coach. I think he will struggle big time in Brazil. I want AA to prove me wrong.
  • Edward, Maryland says:
    May 17, 2014 11:47 am
    Great squad. He selected the best of what we have.Remember, he can't select everybody 's favorite player. Besides, whoever he selects, there will be other good players left unselected.
  • Eben says:
    May 17, 2014 11:25 am
    Great squad. The only thing left now is how they would be deployed on the field of play by Akwasi Appiah, come the mundial.
  • Usa for life says:
    May 17, 2014 11:12 am
    I hope you all loose. You aint got shit on us. Africa is going down. Your team is a mess. Your country is a mess. Corrupt nation. Most of your players are over 32. Time will show you the all old. Jajahahaha
  • Ghanaman says:
    May 17, 2014 11:05 am
    Great selection. This is 2014 stop your nonesense. Leave the coach to do his job. Stupid journalisism. Kwasia.
  • Kwabena says:
    May 17, 2014 10:46 am
    Mourinho rejected mata because he did not fit into his system of play but he will be the first to admit that had he listened and allowed mata to say mata would have helped him win over athletico.
  • Boro says:
    May 17, 2014 10:39 am
    Mathematically he got 86.67 % correct because he failed to name the other four to make it 30 man squad. However i agree with him 100% with the list given so far.