IT was a below average performance, and the fans in Kumasi did not take kindly to Milovan Rajevac’s failure to use World Under-20 best player, Dominic Adiyiah, in the Ghana-Mali World Cup qualifier last Sunday.
With Mali’s defence of Adama Tamboura, Adama Coulibaly, Bakari Soumare and Drissa Diakate making mince meat of the Black Stars attack, some impatient fans had very harsh words for the Ghanaian technical team headed by Milovan Rajevac for allowing the young, but impressive Adiyiah, to sit on the bench for the entire duration while the Black Stars attack struggled to find a way past the Malian defence.
Indeed, all may not be well with the Black Stars and it is time they accept the fact and put in corrective measures before the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup in 2010.
Yes, the team may have a collection of players, some of whom are established stars in their own right, but it also remains a fact that the coordinated play typical of the national team has been missing of late.
For some of the fans who kept shouting at Rajevac to bring on board Adiyiah, his inclusion would have been a plus for the striking department that looked pale.
Asamoah Gyan blew away clear chances and was not the fighting striker everybody knows. Striking partner Matthew Amoah, even though scored Ghana’s first goal, was slow to react.
But the coach would not have anything from the fans and kept the striker on the bench.
Struggling to contain a Malian side without the likes of Fredrick Kanoute and Mamadou Diarra was enough to tell the handlers of the Ghanaian team that more work must be done.
That the Black Stars need to toughen up in defence as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup is an understatement.
Against Mali last Sunday, the defence was fortuitous than a fortress and the Malian attack of Keita and Ndiaye cut through with ease.
In many ways the second half saw more action than the first, with the Black Stars defence looking very vulnerable as the Malians’ pacy attack came threatening.
Once again keeper Richard Kingson proved his agility, saving some sticky situations that could have brought disaster to the Black Stars.
John Paintsil, Samuel Inkoom, Jonathan Mensah and Eric Addo were in all sorts of trouble at the back and the coach’s decision to withdraw the big three, Essien, Appiah and Muntari, was the best thing to do on the night. Appiah’s passes could not go through, Muntari was just destroying the game plan and Essien looked a bit tired, perhaps due the launch of his Foundation a day before the match.
But the three players drew loud applause from the half-full stadium as they left the pitch at various stages of their withdrawal, waving to the crowd.
The coach must revise his notes as they prepare for the task ahead in South Africa and Angola in 2010.