When asked about how the Black Stars would play under his leadership, CK Akonnor said: “One thing that I can assure you is an offensive-oriented team, a team that will like to pass the ball, move to attack quickly and will be able to create chances.“
He added: “I want players who are disciplined, strictly into our tactical play. Players who do things as has been discussed within the domain of the team.”
Ghana simply could not compete, as the Black Stars were humiliated losing 3-0 in a friendly against Mali on Friday.
Since we have only experienced 90 minutes with CK at the helm, we will analyse this game using his own words.
The offense of a team can be described as how they move the ball through the thirds to get to goal. Most important aspect is the Build-up Play
Ghana often played from the back in a 2-2 shape (2 CBs + DM + FB) the fullback involved would tuck in and the opposite full back would stay high and wide.
When Ghana found it difficult to play through Mali, one of Partey/Bernard Mensah would drop deep to progress the ball.
Ghana would attack in a fluid 2-5-3 shape with both fullbacks high and wide with Dede Ayew and Eugene Ansah tucking in either side of Jordan Ayew. Both Partey and Bernard Mensah had freedom to move between the lines due to the presence of Djiku at DM.
Will keep it short here, Ghana found it difficult to create chances because they could not penetrate through the middle and often found themselves using long ball switches from the flanks to create space for the fullback to cross.
As a result, the team mustered no shots on target throughout the entire game against Mali.
A small positive for CK Akonnor was that Ghana’s press was quite effective when done properly, it resulted in 2 or 3 half chances that Ghana should have made more of.
Ghana’s press was very ball-oriented (focused on the ball not the man) with a 4-4-2 shape; the intensity of the press was often triggered any time a Mali player made a loose touch or had too many touches on the ball. In the sequence above, Partey forces the CB to make a bad pass which Andre Ayew pounces on and Ghana’s first real chance of the game was created.
Most of the analysis on the Black Stars attacking was based on the first 60 minutes of the match when there was a game plan; after the third goal a lot of substitutions and positional changes meant the game plan was out of the window.
How did the Black Stars defend? When not applying pressure on the ball, the team settled into a 4-5-1 defensive shape with the central midfielders compressing the space in the middle and the wingers helping out wide.
The main reason Ghana conceded many chances (and 3 goals) was defending out wide; simply put the instructions and communication between the winger and fullback on both flanks was not good enough.
The problem of the left flank can be summed up in Mali’s first goal: Eugene Ansah is covering Mali’s right winger instead of pushing up to cover the RB, and leaving Gideon Mensah to take the winger.
He fails to do so and a simple pass splits both players and leaves Traore through on goal for an easy chance. For most of Eugene Ansah’s 40 minutes on the pitch he was often found in a wing back position leaving Traore to run into the vacant space on the flank.
On the right, the main problem was Dede Ayew often leaving Tariq Fosu on an island defensively. Fosu is NOT a Fullback, he has primarily been a Left Winger his whole career, but he did well for himself throughout the game. The right flank of Ghana was not tested as much as the left flank but it still highlighted there are a few issues to be worked on.
Personally, I do not think we should read too much into CK Akonnor’s first game in charge. Mainly because the majority of the squad have not played together before and lack of fitness and match sharpness among some players. On the ball there were a lot of promising signs for Ghana. It was off the ball that posed issues throughout the game.
The next game against Qatar would shed more light on the work Akonnor is trying to do with the Black Stars team.
Kwadwo Hemeng is a football enthusiast who analyses tactics and has an interest in stats and data analytics. You can follow him on Twitter @Kwadwo_Hemeng