The Black Stars’ AFCON 2019 campaign has been criticised for want of basic passing as the team faces an early exit with anything less than a win in their last game.
Discussants on the JoyFM Super Morning Show Monday, JoySports presenter Gary Al-Smith, former GNA reporter, Veronica Commey, and Asempa FM's pundit Ekow Asmah, all agreed the passing has been lethargic.
They singled out Atletico midfielder Thomas Partey in Black Stars struggles at another continental campaign to end Ghana’s trophy drought at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
They noted that Atletico midfielder Thomas Partey has not come to the party.
Partey has started in the first two games in Ismailia in Egypt, creating an assist against Benin in a 2-2 draw in Group F opener.
But he has become the target of criticism in the game against Cameroun as a section of Ghanaians move on from trolling defender John Boye for his bad game against Benin.
The 26-year old midfielder has not demonstrated a pedigree that saw him shortlisted for the 2018 BBC African Player of the Year, critics say.
Ghana has a final group game against Guinea-Bissau and need a win to qualify. Anything less and the team’s chances are open to permutations, an approach which appears to becoming Ghana’s route to progress in tournaments.
Photo: L-R: JoySports presenter Gary Al-Smith, former GNA reporter, Veronica Commey, and Asempa FM's pundit Ekow Asmah
“You cannot explain why Thomas Partey will have a stinker two games continuous. Did Partey forget how to pass?” Veronica Commey expressed bafflement.
They all faulted the slow build-up game which Gary observed is hesitant passing even in the face of obvious choices. “Common passing is so ponderous and so slow,” he despaired.
He said when defender Kassim Nuhu initiates play from the back, he often finds players disinterested in making themselves an option for a pass. “It is something I don’t understand”, Veronica Commey added.
Gary Al-Smith said the pace and urgency of the passing improved in the final 10minutes of the Cameroun game.
Veronica Commey wants Ghanaians to tamper their expectations – despite a 37-year old AFCON trophy drought – because the team has several weaknesses.
She observed the team is a group of bench-warmers at their various clubs, examples Newcastle player Christian Atsu, Fenerbahçe’s Andre Dede Ayew and Kayserispor’s Asamoah Gyan.
More talismanic players Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew and John Boye are past their best and have become slow in a tournament that rewards speedy players, she indicated.
Ekow Asmah still backed Asamoah Gyan as good enough to start games after only appearing late in the second half against Cameroun. The pundit highlighted his free-kick taking qualities. “What business did Wakaso have, taking our freekicks and wasting all of them from sensitive positions?”, he fumed.
He observed Ghana is not taking advantages of set pieces especially when scoring from open play has become very difficult. “Ghana can get 10 corner kicks in a match and not score even one. Ghana can get 20 freekicks and waste all of them.”
Liverpool star Mohammed Salah converted a superb freekick against Uganda Sunday.
“Why are we not putting our best chance at converting dead-ball situations in the game”, he campaigned for Asamoah Gyan’s inclusion in the starting 11 but not without disagreeing views of the two others.
Veronica Commey expressed disappointment that supporters appear hungrier than the players, a view backed by Gary Al-Smith who has called for opportunities to hungrier players Kwabena Owusu, Caleb Ekuban and speedsters like Samuel Owusu.
Veronica Commey wants the coach, Kwesi Appiah, not to shy away from axing under-performing players. “We are not at a training match,” she demanded results.