Black Stars head coach James Kwesi Appiah became the object of public fury and irritation after another lackluster performance by Ghana’s senior national team at the ongoing Africa Cup Of Nations.
A pale performance by the Black Stars, in their second group game against Cameroon at the ongoing continental competition reminded Ghanaians of the reasons one of Africa’s most talent-filled football nations has struggled to win honors on the continental football stage since 1982.
Coach James Kwasi Appiah’s altered starting line-up meant that Inter Milan player Kwadwo Asamoah was to be deployed in midfield as Baba Rahman replaced Lumor Agbenyenu on the left side of defense with Jonathan Mensah coming in for the suspended John Boye in central defence.
Ghana’s national team looked lethargic and struggled to carve out decent chances as Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions dictated play for much of the game, looking most likely to score.
Clarence Seedorf’s side had the better part of exchanges in midfield with Ghana struggling to determine a proper pattern in attack with lead striker Jordan Ayew struggling to impose himself in the final third of the pitch as he remained isolated upfront for much of the stretch of play.
Coach Kwasi Appiah’s downcast image on the touch line was typical of his usual uninspiring self as the Black Stars appeared to lack urgency in play with limited opportunities with the ball as the Cameroonians enjoyed the majority of possession with Ghana’s midfield pivoted around Mubarak Wakasso and the Thomas Partey lacking in telepathy and cohesion. Inter Milan star Kwadwo Asamoah was not in his creative best, parading in the game without much of an impact on play.
Ghana’s brightest moment in the first half fizzled with a muscle problem for Christian Atsu who went to the ground after his 13th minute break-away strike failed to produce any delight for the Black Stars as Samuel Owusu was brought in to replace him.
However, the biggest moment of the first half fell in the path of Cameroonian attacker Christian Bassagog whose nailed shot in the 41st minute could have handed his team the opener if not for the agility of goalkeeper Richard Ofori who pulled of a marvelous diving save to deny the Henan Jianye attacker.
The resumption of play unfolded with similar narratives of the first 45 minutes with the Black Stars retaining their dependence on counters as the Cameroons kept probing with better passing and ball movement with more energetic forays upfront.
Clarence Seedorf’s men continued their pursuit of a goal after being buoyed by the introduction of Maxim Choppo-Moting and FC Angers’ forward Stephane Bahoken in the 74th minute with the Ghana bench reacting with the late substitutions of Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre Ayew which introduced striker Asamoah Gyan and Kwabena Owusu to affairs.
That substitution almost delivered the goods for Ghana but for youngster Kwabena Owusu’s error of judgement in the 88th minute when he decided to go solo rather than lay off a pass to Jordan Ayew who was in a better position to score in the 88th minute after a lapse in defense by the Cameroonians.
Owusu threw away Ghana’s most promising moment of the game, blasting his shot which hit the crossbar on its way out of play.
After three minutes of added time, Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa brought a pale Black Stars performance to an end at the Ismaili stadium with no victory recorded for Ghana yet in this year’s AFCON, leaving the Black Stars with their work well cut out for them in the next game if their AFCON 2019 story must proceed.
Ghana will go into the last game against Guinea-Bissau keen to sweep away the three points at stake to guarantee a spot in the next stage of the competition as a draw may not be enough for coach Kwesi Appaiah and his men as the Ghanaian public continues to grow impatient with the pale-colored displays of the team.