Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

WHEN the Black Stars sent the Greens of Libya tumbling last Sunday, it strongly revived the question of whether or not the GFA should look within for a replacement for Frenchman Claude le Roy.
Sellas Tetteh, who guided the team to that impressive 3-0 victory to serve as a tonic for their forward march to South Africa, believes the performance of the team was a good case for himself and, indeed, Ghanaian coaches.
Surely, an under-performance against the Libyans would have had dire consequences on Ghanaian coaches.
Sellas, who is the assistant coach of the Black Stars, took temporary charge as the FA went looking for what they have described as a “top-class coach”.
While some argue it was time Sellas was made to take full control of the team, others rubbish that argument, because they believe the Libyans come nowhere near the top echelon of Africa football.
The watching Ghanaian football public had expected nothing, but a good show that would give hope for the Black Stars’ move towards the World Cup.
Even though the coach believes he has what it takes to lead the team, he preferred to focus more on the next matches so long as he is in charge.
“We can get better”, he said, maintaining that no one should downgrade the Libyans because they play very good football.
Sellas kept to his promise of getting a good beginning to the competition and his charges proved equal to the task as Prince Tagoe, Manuel Agogo and Laryea Kingson got on the scoresheet.
The 3-0 victory put the Black Stars on top of their group and the pressure to maintain the position will be on.
It could have been a complicated game had the Black Stars not raced into that early lead.
So amazing was the amount of energy and fluidity poured into the game by the Greens, who had 13 out of the 18 players who made it to Kumasi playing for local side Al-Ittihad.
What appeared the modus operandi of the Libyans was to cause an early upset and unsettle the Ghanaians. It nearly materialised as three times in the 2nd, 4th and 6th minutes they came so close that the hearts of thousands of Ghanaians at the near-capacity stadium went dead.
Nimble-footed Ahmed Khalifa Alsbany was a handful for the Ghanaian defence and anytime he created panic in the Black Stars area was always terrifying.
The best for the Ghanaians to do was to take up the gauntlet and look for a goal that could unsettle the Libyans, and they did that through Tagoe in the 16th minute. The galloping striker relied on his speed to outrun Younes Shibani to strike full force past Samir Abbud in post.
When the first goal came, it signalled that Ghana were on the way to a goal haul. Two more goals came through Agogo and Kingston in the second half.
Tagoe, who has been in and out of the game, did not play badly. Perhaps, this is the time for him to work hard to maintain a permanent place in the team.
Asante Kotoko’s left back, Harrison Afful, also made a case in a way for local players. He was so strong and fluid on the left, joining the attack on countless occasions and sending in intelligent crosses, one of which saw Kingson scoring with that spectacular volley.
Ghana’s strength in the midfield was evident as Michael Essien was in full glow, even when Muntari was not pulling his weight.

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