Africa Cup of Nations – Ghana Preview

 

Playing squad

The Black Stars appear to have a reasonable backline. In goal Razak Brimah should start and he should be ok. The leading player in defence is left back Baba Rahman who plays for Schalke. Daniel Amartey of Leicester City should lineup alongside Jonathan Mensah in the middle. It looks like Harrison Afful of MLS side Columbus Crew will be their starter on the right, someone who can be dangerous going forwards but dodgy defensively.

Considering that coach Avram Grant will probably use a 4-4-2 formation, a number of players look set to be battling it out for a couple of starting spots in the middle. The likes of Badu, Acquah, Wakaso & Thomas Partey aren’t bad options, but do either of them really scream out mega quality? Possibly, but I couldn’t say that with great confidence.

I’m not convinced they have particularly good wide players, whilst upfront Ghana have always been in love with the Ayew brothers. Both of them often raise their level of performance for their country, but neither are clinical enough in front of goal in my opinion. Maybe Asamoah Gyan will push for playing time, whilst Lorient’s Majeed Waris is surprisingly left out of the final squad despite being in good form.

Draw & outlook

Ghana were runners up two years ago when they heartbreakingly lost in a penalty shoot out against the Ivory Coast. They qualified with ease for this tournament but things haven't started so well for them in the World Cup qualifying campaign. A 0-0 draw at home to Uganda was followed by a 0-2 defeat in Egypt. That result nearly prompted the sacking of Avram Grant. The former Chelsea manager is often seen as a bridesmaid not a bride, and a ‘nearly man’ who never wins anything. On paper, Ghana have maybe lucked out with a good draw but there are definite concerns too. They’ll once again face up to Egypt and Uganda, two teams who they failed against recently. It’s fair to expect them to at least qualify for the quarter finals, but a potential meeting with old foes Ivory Coast could see them exit sooner than hoped for. I personally have them down as one of the flops of the tournament and it will be tight with Mali if they qualify or not. I have a feeling they could have a shock exit from the group stage.

Group prediction: 3rd