Same old set of players, different set of matches. That was the underwhelming feeling when Ghana boss Avram Grant named his Black Stars squad for the double Nations Cup qualifying header against Mozambique on March 24th and 27th.
The Black Stars top group H after six maximum points and should negotiate the next two set of qualifiers without losing their grip on the group even though that does not mean Ghana boss Avram Grant has picked an unquestionable set of 23 players for the games in Maputo and Accra.
Andre Dede Ayew is absent through injury and Kwadwo Asamoah has not been named despite being fit again for Juventus. The only guess could be that he needs time to regain his form at club level after the intensity of his recent troubles with injuries.
PLUSES (Return of Kwarasey and call ups of Duncan, Tetteh and Assifuah)
Turning Black Stars squads inside out is fun. There is always the big question of who has missed out, who made it but doesn’t deserve to be there and who we know would get in even with one crooked leg. We will get into those ones later but first the positives in the 23-man squad that Grant released.
And perharps the biggest from it is the return of Adam Larsen Kwarasey. The USA-based goalkeeper is no David De Gea. In fact we remember him for as many horror moments in the Black Stars jersey as we remember him for the good times but it has been painfully clear even for his fiercest critics especially after his recent season in the MLS that he at least deserves another crack at international duty.
Kwarasey knows he won’t walk into the Black Stars as first choice but even better for the Ghanaian football fan is that Razak Braimah knows he is no longer the undisputed number one. It is even more re-assuring that the man supposed to be providing the competition is not Fatau Dauda whose form in AshantiGold’s African champions league campaign summed up the problem with Ghana’s crop of goalkeepers.
There is also the call up for Alfred Duncan which has come a game or two late but which is just to reward him for his consistency in central midfield for the Italian side Sassuolo this season. The former Inter Milan man is one of many exciting youngsters to get another chance.
Samuel Tetteh has been rewarded for his four goals in the Ghana Premier League with WAFA which means he can bring his speeds and play making skill to bear on Ghana’s Nations Cup qualification efforts.
Then there is Ebenezer Assifuah who is maturing nicely at FC Sion. If he is not scoring, he is running tirelessly down the right side of attack for the Swiss and laying on goals.
ACES (Frank Acheampong and goal scoring form of Warris)
We often complain about Ghana’s strike force and their heavy reliance on Asamoah Gyan.
Against Mozambique, that should not be a problem if the players can transmit club form to international duty. Assifuah has been scoring, Majeed Warris has found that goal scoring touch again and will be confident of ending his long, barren spell in front of goal for Ghana that stretches back to three years.
Frank Acheampong is playing like a man possesed too with pace, trickery and ultimately goals. Should be a real asset for the Black Stars in those two games.
Wakasso’s inclusion on the face looks like a potential game changer due largely to his superb form for Ghana. He rescued the side in Kigali and then played a blinder against Mauritius and Comoros but he is coming off an injury that we were never sure he would recover from so quickly so the risk factor is obvious.
Asamoah Gyan has been back for his Chinese side after his recent injury scare but he has not scored since August. Fitness appears to be an issues. That said Gyan is Gyan and leaving him out unless he is on two broken legs is not an option.
It is hard to argue with many of Grant’s choices but also a bit baffling that after claiming to monitor players in Europe for almost two months Grant did not seem to see any of those players shaking things up nicely.
Albert Adomah has so badly stereotyped, nothing he does is impressive. Inkoom is a goner. Meanwhile Edwin Gyimah continues to get call ups because he is Edwin Gyimah.
It turns out you don’t need months in Europe to make Black Stars call ups afterall.
By TV3 Sports Team
Twiter: @TV3Sports GH