Samuel Bartels gives his assessment of the Holland game.
Ghana’s Black Stars must focus on a good start against Serbia despite the Dutch setback inflicted on them last Tuesday.
That Ghanaians are cursed with a passion for football is obvious. Everything else must wait when their national team is in action. When the team fails to deliver: big deal. So the airwaves have been saturated with cries of despair since the flying Dutchmen pulverized the Black stars in Rotterdam on Tuesday night in Ghana’s first World Cup tune up game.
The coach’s credentials have again been questioned, the likes of Sulley Muntari and Appiah are again the target of some rather unsavoury comments and the popular refrain now on radio is team no nnye!” meaning our team is not good enough!
The player ratings on Tuesday night amply support this conclusion. The defence almost gave us nervous shocks. Kingson looked like a retired goalkeeper in search of match practice. Very few of the outfield players were willing to put in any physical contact that could crock their place at the World Cup itself.
Derek Boateng showed that Essien is irreplaceable and Ghana needs to find a reliable partner for Annan, quick. Sulley’s return made us miss Opoku Agyemang. Matthew Amoah never felt at home playing in his home base.
The Kevin-Prince show never was. We could go on and on and on. Generally though the players lacked team practice, came out of the blocks looking very heavy, were emotionally on the edge hence the nervousness and simply lacked a plan in attack. Result: the Oranje had a field day.
The heartbreak of Ghanaians is understandable. But it seems what the country needs right now is self belief. It is that quality that only emerged in our team after the loss to Italy in 2006.
After that game most Ghanaians started the usual hunt for scapegoats and the ever so familiar hands up in despair as Ghanaian prepared to face the number 2 team in the world. In the team camp however lessons had been learnt and confidence built.
What Ghana did to Czech Republic in 2006 is a notorious fact.
The genteel Milovan Rajevac and his side have proved this twice already in qualifying and also recovering from a 3-1 setback against La Cote D’ivoire to reach the finals of the Nation’s Cup in Angola.
Back to the present. The football fan would always be the passionate, sometimes irrational individual who is always right in his assessment of his team. Like a politician a fan’s declaration is a transient reflection of his team’s result.
The players lacked team practice, came out of the blocks looking very heavy, were emotionally on the edge hence the nervousness and simply lacked a plan in attack. Result: the Oranje had a field day. - Bartels
The Ghana supporter is no different.
The real thing though happens in the team camp. Milovan Rajevac may be a man of few words. But this is the time to rally his forces together and rouse a sense of belief in their quest to excel at South Africa 2010.
The last thing the team needs is to be rattled by the acid tongued attacks from sections of the media and the Ghanaian fan base. Let’s not forget that the Serbs are not on a honeymoon either. Their 1-0 loss to New Zealand was followed by rioting by their unhappy fans at the stadium in Klagenfurt last Saturday.
Indeed stand-in captain Nemanja Vidic had to speak over the stadium tannoy to calm fans who were throwing missiles.
On Wednesday night the Serbs again nearly came unstuck against Poland in a goalless display that leaves Raddy Antic still sweating. I am sure the crestfallen Ghana supporters would have something to smile about after the Latvia game.
This is not to get us complacent. It is however time for the Black Stars to dig deep for self belief and fine tune for South Africa 2010. After our odyssey in Germany we are no longer mere pushovers!
Samuel Bartels is a sports journalist and a Law student at the Ghana School of Law.
Or follow me personally @garyalsmith
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