New Black Stars Coach Stevanovic Gets Off On Wrong Foot
New Ghana boss Goran Stevanovic promised a Ghana side that will rise to the top of African football by winning with style, playing a more attractive brand of football and scoring goals. But in his first call-up, he handed returns to two strikers who have summed up Ghana's difficulties in front of goal. Stevanovic's first game is what is clearly a hurriedly arranged friendly against Togo next week in Antwerp, Belgium. It seems the same haste, not necessarily the urgency, influenced his call ups. In the squad released on Thursday morning, the former Partizan Belgrade boss called up two players who only signed for the Serbian side last week. Prince Tagoe and Dominic Adiyiah are the two recognized strikers heading for the friendly, but both have inspired little confidence in front of goal for some time now. Since inspiring Ghana to the World Youth Championship triumph in Egypt two years ago with eight goals, Adiyiah has gone from the next great hope of Ghana football to potentially the next big example of how success at the youth level is incredibly difficult to replicate at senior level. He represented Ghana at the 2010 Nations Cup and World Cup, but he was clearly feeding off his exploits at the youth level. He has not played competitively for AC Milan since joining them in January 2010. In his loan spell at Reginna, he managed one goal from 13 appearances, most of them from the bench. Tagoe seems to have lost his scoring boots too since his move from Saudi Arabia to Europe. His return on goals for Hoffenheim was two goals in 12 games. In 22 games he has managed four goals for Ghana, but it is how he has played that is raising cause for concern. So clearly for a boss keen to make a statement about his attacking intentions and his commitment to winning with style, Stevanovic did not back that up with his squad selection. In a way the messages he so eloquently delivered in his passable English, he did not measure up to with his actions. It was just not in the area of attack though. Overall, this was a squad that does not ooze quality. John Mensah's quality cannot be understated, but he has not played since December because of injury. John Boye is yet to make his senior debut for Stade Rennes since moving to France two years ago. That is simply not good enough for a player with Black Stars ambitions. In midfield, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu has barely played for Udinese and then there is the case of Sulley Muntari. He got a visit from Stevanovic just as he did from the ex-boss Milovan Rajevac. And in both cases the flights to Milan happened after he had reportedly fallen foul of the side's disciplinary code. In traveling to Milan, Stevanovic made Muntari something of a special case. For someone who has consistently thrown the rule book in camp out of the window, that is sending a bad message to the rest of the squad. It says 'you can play boss, you can scream at the boss, but we will take a flight to your base and hold a meeting with you over your return all at the expense of that nation'. And that to sum it up in one of my favourite words is bogus. The reaction to the call-ups especially on social networking sites summed up the feeling towards the squad. Television analyst Nana Agyemang wrote on his Facebook page that the 'nonsense' has started again and argued there are far too many players in the squad who did not deserve to be there because of a lack of playing time. On KickOffGhana.com's official Facebook page, Eugene Asumado took issues with the squad, insisting Goran has started on a wrong note. With the best crop of home based players away on duty at the championship of African Nations, Goran's options were somehow limited even though the bosses barely consider the home boys. You have to hope for the sake of Ghana football he gets back on the right path quickly because to make champions again, Ghana will require much more than strikers who can't count double figure goals between them in over a year, defenders not good enough for their club sides and midfielders who have spent time watching more than playing recently.
Source: Michael Oti Adjei/Kickoff.com
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