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Team profile: Ghana - formerly know as "The Gold Coast"

The Ghanaian “Black Stars” are the Socceroos second opponent in Group D.

And before anyone gets all Harry Connick Jr. on me, their nick name derives from the fact that their flag is dominated by a large Black Star!

Hailing from the footballing hotbed of West Africa – their near neighbors are the Ivory Coast and Cameroon – Ghana will be a totally different challenge to our other group opponents.

They have a history of flamboyant and exciting players including Abedi Pele, who played for Marseilles in the 1990’s and Tony Yeboah who won the Premier league’s goal of the season in 1996, playing alongside Harry Kewell at Leeds.

They play a very attacking and free style of football, which often lacks positional discipline but always leads to open and exciting games.

Simply put, if Australia can’t get a win against Ghana then we don’t deserve to make the knock out phase.

They were absolutely rubbish at the recent African Cup of nations but somehow managed to make it into the semis, in spite of only scoring 4 goals in their 4 matches.

Their Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac, has a testy relationship with a number of the squads big names including Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari, who was omitted from the 2010 African nation’s Cup following an unexplained absence from a friendly with Angola.

He has since apologized but his selection for the World Cup is not guaranteed.

Two other starters also failed to show for a friendly but after apologizing they were re-admitted to the squad.

Yes they have some skilled players and the ability to score from anywhere but they lack cohesion, team spirit and above all unity.

They were the surprise packet of the 2006 World Cup but don’t be surprised if they exit South Africa without a win to their name.

The Players to Watch:

Michael Essien:

Essien is the most expensive African player of all time, thanks to his £26 Million transfer from Lyon in France to Chelsea in 2007.

He is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the world today and is one of the few players to have slipped through Alex Ferguson’s fingers, having been a member of the Manchester United youth team in 2000 before singing for French side Bastia.

Essien is known as “The Bison”, for his ability to get from box to box for the entire 90 minutes and for his robust tackling style.

He doesn’t tend to score many goals but when he does they are usually spectacular.

Essien is the most effective player on Ghana’s team and the man we need to watch the closest.

He has though missed the final months of the Premier League through injury and will go into the World Cup with virtually no game time under his belt since January.
Asamoah Gyan:

Ghana’s top scorer at the African Cup of Nations, he is key to their chances of progress.

Gyan did just about everything you could do at the 2006 World Cup.

He scored Ghana’s first goal at the World Cup in 2006, against the Czech Republic, the fastest goal in the tournament at just 68 seconds.

He missed a penalty later in the same game and was booked for trying to take it too quickly, that meant he was suspended for Ghana’s final group game

Just to top that, he was sent off in Ghana’s second round match defeat to Brazil, for diving!

He was also Ghana’s key player at the recent African Cup of nations, being their top scorer, and netting the winner in the semi final win over Nigeria.

He is essentially a scale model of the team, skillful but unreliable, deadly but ill-disciplined, fast but fastidious.

Andre Ayew:

Andre Ayew is the bolter in the Ghanaian World Cup team for 2010.

Ayew captained the Black Satellites – Ghana’s equivalent of the Young Socceroos – to Youth World Cup glory in 2009, scoring his penalty in the shoot out win over Brazil.

Ayew’s Father is the legendary Ghanaian Abedi Pele, who was instrumental in Marseilles Champions League win over AC Milan in 1993.

He is the link between Ghana’s past successes and their bright future and could be a breakout star of the World Cup.

He will still only be 20 years old when the World Cup begins, but with his World Cup captaincy experience, albeit at Youth level, he could prove a decisive figure for the Black Stars.

Target for the Socceroos:

Ghana will be desperate for a result and will be targeting this match as a must win – they play Germany in their final match and can’t expect anything from that game.

Sitting back and allowing Ghana to attack and then catching them on the break will likely be the Socceroos game plan in this game.

Look for Verbeek to choose his side accordingly and possibly include a young, fast and fit striker from the outset – with Josh Kennedy as a second half sub to use his height.

World Cup bolters Matthew Leckie or Tommy Oar (if selected) in a lone striking role might be the option Pim chooses – he has used Tim Cahill in that role previously but the raw pace of Leckie and Oar could be a surprise choice.

Useless fact:

Before Independence in the 1950’s Ghana’s previous name was “Gold Coast” so we can expect to see plenty of “Cashed up Bogans” in Rustenburg on June 19th.
Wed 07/04/2010 Irish Dave 377 views

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