Football

Sudan 1-0 Ghana: Five things we learned

Ghana Black Stars

Ghana suffered a setback to an early qualification for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-0 loss to Sudan on Tuesday.

Black Stars were second best to a good side in all areas at the Al Hilal stadium.

They can still qualify for the main tournament but have given Sudan a chance as well.

Here are five things we learned from the game:

Nicholas Opoku is not the ideal right-back for the side

Over the years, the Black Stars have struggled to find a right-back since the exit of John Paintsil. A number of players have featured at that position. In this game, Nicholas Opoku was given a shot there and it is fair to say that it was not one of his best games.

Opoku is best suited for a centre-back position so it was a surprise when Charles Akonnor put him there. He failed to offer much on the offensive end and looked sluggish defensively.

In the future, Akonnor should find a specialist right-back.

Jordan and Ekuban not compatible

In this game, Charles Akonnor started Jordan Ayew and Caleb Ekuban together in a front two mainly due to the absence of Andre Ayew.

It was quite evident that the two possess similar playing styles and struggled to gel. The two players had tendencies to drift wide with the ball.

In a two-man forward line, it is usually ideal for one forward to drift wide or play as a target man whilst the other attacks the open spaces.

This was not really seen from the team and it showed in their failure to find the target on a consistent basis. Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew should be a constant pair in the future with Ekuban coming in when needed.

Wakaso showed energy but Partey still missed

Wakaso was paired with Afriyie Acquah at the start of the game against Sudan and the Jiangsu Suning midfielder showed some great energy and passing prowess. He looked more lively than Emmanuel Lomotey who featured in the previous game.

However, his quality as a deeper playmaker is not at the level of Partey. Wakaso has shown over the years that he is better suited as a destroyer alongside a better playmaker like Partey.

The creativity from deep was not as much as anyone would have hoped.

The team needs to improve defensively

In the game, Sudan were more potent going forward and were rewarded with a last gasp goal. In the build-up to the goal, the team was caught sleeping defensively, especially with the centre-backs.

The game could have ended with more goals for the hosts if not for Fatau Dauda’s save in the first half. In the other three games in 2020, it has been made clear that quality teams can find ways to score against Ghana’s backline.

It is a huge problem area that needs solving immediately.

Black Stars not ready to win AFCON

After Charles Akonnor was given the job, it was hinted by many that the expectation is to win the AFCON as it has been in the previous editions.

This year, the team has played four games and in all those games, it is hard to make a case for the nation winning the AFCON in 2022. You may highlight the 5-1 win against Qatar but on that day, the opposition was poor.

In the first clash against Sudan, the team needed the brilliance of Andre Ayew to get a positive result. The signs are not positive so far.