It was the first game of reappointed Kwesi Appiah after the 2014 World Cup debacle, and it was also Black stars first game at the Baba Yara Stadium Since 2014 when the fans turned against them. In what has been a wet afternoon at the Baba Yara Stadium, the Black Stars of Ghana mauled their Ethiopian counter part by 5 goals to zero to kick start the second coming of Kwesi Appiah and return of the Black Stars to Kumasi.
Footballmadeinghana.com writer Abdul Wadudu talks about five things we learned from the game.
1- The Fans have forgiven the Black Stars – The senior national of Ghana have been in the receiving end of hostile reception wherever they play in the country, after that debacle in Brazil 2014 world cup, the fans felt disappointed by how the players held the whole country to a ransom because of unpaid bonuses, they decided to neglect the senior National team , some even went ahead to boo and jeer them whenever they play in the country.
But the story was different today, the fans were there in their numbers to support the boys, even the rains seems to have deterred them from cheering the boys, they stood in the rain and did the job perfectly. The fans stood behind the team from the start to the final whistle of the game and for the first time since Ghana played Egypt in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers play off , the stadium was almost full to capacity.
2- Debutantes justified their inclusion- James Kwesi Appiah surprised everyone in the country by handing three players their full debut in the game, Lumor Agbenyenu, Thomas Agyapong, and Raphael Dwamena. Ebenezer Ofori also made his second cap in the game. And it took only ten minutes for Thomas Agyapong to show what he is capable of doing by providing the assist for Asamoah Gyan to register his 50th goal for the senior national team.
Raphael Dwamena also scored two goals in the game to mark a memorable debut. Ebenezer Ofori’s presence in game was much felt with his beautiful touches , interceptions and precise deliveries. His combination with Thomas Party is the best we have seen since the days of Essien and Sulley Muntari.
Lumor Agbenyenu was solid throughout the game, he combined very well with Thomas Agyapong to cause problems to the Ethiopians. His crosses were very good. With the performance of these new boys, the competition in the team will intensify as time goes on.
3- Asamoah Gyan is a legend – When skipper Asamoah Gyan lead the team out of the tunnel to the pitch, one thing was surely running through his mind; when and how will he get that one goal to add it to his 49 to make it 50 goals for Ghana.
Surprisingly it took him only ten minutes to find the back of the net, thanks to a wonderful assists by the impressive Thomas Agyapong. Asamoah Gyan is Africa’s top scorer at the world cup and also holds Ghana’s record at the Cup of Nations with 8 goals, and scoring 50 goals for the national team is a big feat that deserves to be applauded.
4 – Kwesi Appiah proved a point – No one was expecting to see the name of Jordan Ayew , Afriyie Acquah and Frank Acheampong on the bench before the game, but Kwesi Appiah took a bold step to select what he thinks was the best team for the game, and his team selection proved right with an outstanding performance from the team and an overwhelming results to kick start another journey to AFCON. His selection in today’s game will send a signal to the players who were left in the 30 man squad for the game and those who were through injury.
5- Controversy on the Captain’s Armband – The captain of the day Asamoah Gyan was substituted in the 65th minute of the game for Majeed Warris, and Asamoah Gyan went straight to the bench with the captain’s armband without giving it to his assistant Andre Ayew. Then Andre Ayew was seen collecting a new Armband from the technical bench, before the game could resume.
The actions of the two players raised an eyebrow in the whole stadium as people started questioning why Andre Ayew went for a new armband instead of collecting the one Asamoah Gyan was using. The actions of the two players can only add to the perception of the public that the two players are not in good terms, taking out the shine from the emphatic victory recorded over the Ethiopians. Credible sources revealed the armband which had Gyan’s picture embossed neatly on it was a special move from kit sponsors Puma to celebrate the striker’s 50 goal mark for the nation.
Whatever the case, there is a sign of hope and believe in the second coming of coach Kwesi Appiah.
AUTHOR; WADUD ABDUL