Undoubtedly the most competitive department of the Black Stars team, GHANAsoccernet.com assesses the chances of some players in earning a spot in the Ghana midfield for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Itâ€™s a no brainer that the Juventus player is top of the list. His skill and passing ability will be greatly required if Ghana is to end the 31-year wait for a fifth African title in South Africa.
Aside his recent misdemeanor in the side, the Olympique Marseille enforcerâ€™s time with the Black Stars is unblemished. Since bursting onto the scene as a 20-year-old, the second son of Ghana legend Abedi Pele has never looked back. His current club form makes him an imperative factor of why the Black Stars might do well at the AFCON.
For a 20-year-old to emerge an important piece of any side in the world Â in such a relatively short space of time tells the while story of the FC Porto man. His ability and sheer talent on the ball makes the diminutive figure just a delight to watch and is already tipped as one of the potential stars to watch out for in South Africa.
If Ghana is to flourish in attack, some sort of solidity is required to snuff out the reverse. Nobody (perhaps an Essien in his peak) does that better for the Black Stars than Agyemang-Badu. The Udinese player also has a good shot on him to complement for his defensive specialty. His recent injury problems is however a source of worry but when fit, no one drops the â€˜Milling Machineâ€™.
Wakaso emergence is highly refreshing as one of the few utility players in the side. A pure workaholic and no nonsense character, the Espanyol lad will be needed when it comes to the crunch especially when tackles start flying in against the other strongmen on the continent.
Doesnâ€™t play regularly for his club but hardly has a bad day in a Black Stars shirt. As â€˜Mr Reliableâ€™ he is the go-to-guy that every coach would love as part of his arsenal.
We appear to be running a bit thin on central midfielders who can actually pass the ball while helping out with defensive duties and that is what the 29-year-old provides. Just like Annan or even worse, Boateng doesnâ€™t play at all for his club. He is also very much prone to bad days but always a delight to watch when he is on form.
He has scored more goals than any other Ghana midfielder vying for a place, in fact he is the leading goalscorer in the Ghana Premier League and yet not a striker. Only problem is that, he is not tested at international level much less a tournament Ghana wants to win like the Nations Cup. But for my money, he is good to earn a spot in the team, if we canâ€™t find it, then our league is totally rubbish.
Usually, the midfeld quoat for a tournament squad is eight. Meaning the aforementioned players per GHANAsoccernet.comâ€™s assessment will make the cut.
However, there are a few others who can also get in the squad if not for its tightness.
But unfortunately for them, luck and divine intervention can see them on the plane to South Africa.
Every team going to a tournament needs to start grooming someone. This resurrects fond memories of one Kwadwo Asamoah the 2008 CAN who never kicked a ball in the tournament but once. Today, the results is there for all to see. Acquahâ€™s course massively helped by his debut goal against Malawi but for a young player, you need to be performing on a regular basis for you club and he is certainly not getting that at Parma.
Another one for the future but concerns over his ability to mix it in the tackles in midfield due to his structure could cost him.
2013 Nations Cup might come just too early for him as we are not certain of what we are going to get. But he is a proven string lad and might just get lucky.