10 Reasons Why Ghana Black Stars Lost To Cape Verde At AFCON 23′ Group B Clash
The General Outlook
Whereas the entire Cape Verde celebrated their 2:1 victory over four time Champions Ghana in the ongoing African Cup of Nations Group B clash yesterday, many Ghanaians have been visibly shaken and disappointed by this defeat.
Social media has been boiling with some Ghanaians directing their anger to different sources including the Technical Team of the Black Stars, The Ghana Football Association, the Ministry of Youth and Sports among others.
However, a critical analysis of the match will reveal to those who care to know that this defeat by Ghana to Cape Verde will not come as a surprise knowing that in ten AFCON matches, Ghana has managed only one victory, a run that shows clearly Ghana is on the decline in terms of African football, with its football leadership living in self denial.
After critical analysis of Ghana’s game opening defeat to Cape Verde, the following were clearly amplified;
1. Ghana’s Chris Hughton Got His Selection Wrong
Ghana’s coach had his selection wrong as he tried to respond to his critics by making some changes for the first time in his team. This new team never played together in any fixture and were just appearing for the first time as a team on this big stage. The selected 11 were playing for the first time together in a competitve game and therefore the lack of chemistry and team work was so telling compared to Cape Verde who seemed to have a proper team with a plan. Here are some obvious observations from the game.
2. Majeed Ashimero and Baba Iddrisu Midfield Pair
Having been criticized so many times for using a double pivot of double defensive midfielders in almost all of his games, Ghana’s coach Chris Hughton decided to start a ball progressor and one DM. The coach was starting a Majeed Ashimero and Baba Iddrisu pair for the first time. What that means is familiarity, communication, understanding, bonding was going to be a challenge because the two players have not started together before. One could clearly see that as Ghana’s midfield was dominated and almost looked non-existent.
3. Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer Number 10 Role was a Fiasco
The player had been called many times but suffered to get game time under Chris Hughton. Having used him in Ghana’s friendly game against Namibia, Hughton decided to playing him behind the striker in the absence of Kudud Mohammed. Unfortunately, his disconnect with the other attackers and midfielders, lack of confidence and general play in the game betrayed the coaches experimentation.
4. Poor Substitutions
When Ghana has been dominated so much by Cape Verde in the game, their belief and confidence started coming back after the equalizer and Ghana started dominating their opponents. Unfortunately, the three joint substitution by Christ Hughton, bringing Dede Ayew, Inaki Williams, and Ernest Nuamah were wrongly timed and wrongly read. Pulling out Joseph Paintsill who was the only player causing havoc to the opponent upfront affected Ghana’s potency upfront. As much as Jordan Ayew wasn’t bad in the game, he didn’t threaten the opponent so much. The pulling out of Majid Ashimero and bringing on Salis Abdul Samed clearly amplified the conservative nature of the coach who seemed to be content with the draw until disaster stroked. Osman Bukari who has been Ghana’s source of goals in recent times came on too late in the 94th minute with Jordan Ayew lasting so long with little impact. Dede Ayew had no significant impact on the game. Poor substitutions at its best.
5. No Tactical Variation In The Game
Chris Hughton’s flat approach to the game without any tactical variation made Cape Verde comfortable as they could predict every move of our team. Ghana’s 4-2-3-1/ 4-3-3 approach wasn’t effective with as the engine of the team, the midfield failed to keep the team functioning at utmost capacity.
6. Other Players Didnt Match The Passion, Commitment and Zeal of Alexander Djiku
There was a clear difference between the commitment and zeal of Alexander Djiku with the other players. He was ready to challenge every ball, put his body on the line and die a little for his nation. His facial appearance and body language tells of a player who was not willing to accept defeat. He cleared the mess of other players and motivated his players to do a lot more. He scored and kept Ghana in the game. Same cannot be said about some of his colleagues. They were just playing what they could, no passion, no zeal, no commitment. For a nation that is struggling tactically and in terms of form, the only thing that could make up for this was individual players commitment and willingness to die a little for their nation. Unfortunately, most of the players only turned to do what they could. Nothing special.
7. No Team Work
Chris Hughton’s previous ten games have shown clearly that he has not welded any team together.. No plan, no identity, no identifiable tactical approach. Ghana has struggled to win games under Chris Hughton and the few wins have come in very difficult fashion. With some two weeks of training or camping, one was expecting a bit more flow, fluidity and team work but unfortunately, opponents even get surprised that with all our potential, we could play such poorly and make every average team look so good.
8. Goalkeeping Still An Issue For Ghana
As much as Richard Ofori made amends later on in the game, his penchant for punching every direct ball posed a challenge. The first goal conceded was clearly a gift to Cape Verde. Goalkeeping is clearly an issue for Ghana.
9. Ghana’s Wing Backs Looks Quite Porous
Any team could easily explit Ghana’s lateral posititons with Gideon Mensah and Dennis Odoi because the pair lack solidity, physical presence and aggression which makes opponents quite confortable to exploit those spaces. Unless they get adequate cover and support, Ghana’s defence could always be vulnerable for exploitaion by opponents.
10. Djiku – Salisu Partnership Didnt Work
The two have not played in that role for long and therefore lacked chemistry and communication as they struggled to form a solid partnership. It showed clearely in the second goal they conceded as the lack of understanding and chemistry showed. Experimenting at the highest stage has always been dangerous.
Individual good players may not necessarily translate into a good partnership.
General Statistics of the game favoured Cape Verde. They outplayed Ghana in every department of the game. Not good enough.
Is there Any Hope For Ghana?
Until these mistakes and errors are corrected, Ghana may not make it out of the group. As to whether Chris Hughton has what it takes to correct these errors, only time will tell.