It doesn’t often happen but believe it or not some teams win tournaments from sheer luck. It is simply a massing-up of the luck the team’s players get. Indeed, some players will tell you aside hardwork put up duringe training, luck also contributes to performance. No wonder, many of them uphold superstitions such as jersey numbers, colour of bootstraps, kind of underwear and so on.
It is against this background that I predict the Black Stars will win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Indeed, I will not deny the fact that performance from the players will play a key role.
Switch from even to odd number
Firstly, anytime the Africa Cup of Nations has been switched from an even-number year to an odd-number year, the Black Stars have won the trophy. In 1963, when Ghana did the host-and-win for the first time in her football history, the finals of the tournament had been played in the previous year in Addis-Ababa, where hosts Ethiopia beat Tunisia and Egypt to win the trophy. Marking her debut, Ghana won the competition in 1963. After Africa’s poor outing at the 2010 World Cup, touted as Africa’s World Cup, the Confederation of African Football decreed that the its flagship tournament should be fixed so it does not clash with a world cup, hoping it will help African nations get enough rest before playing in a world cup, which is mostly held in June. Therefore, the Cup of Nations was moved from an even year to odd year with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations being the first.
Not on many occasions but any time the Black Stars have opened scoring in an Africa Cup of Nations, it wins the tournament. In 1963, 1965, 1982, when Ghana won the tournaments, the Black Stars opened those respective tournaments with first goals. Even the last time the Black Stars won the trophy in Libya in 1982, it scored the tournament’s first goal though it drew 2-2, just like it has happened in South Africa. The Black Stars drew 2-2 with the hosts, the Greens of Libya, in the first match played at the June 11 Stadium in Tripoli. The two nations met again in the finals and though that also ended in a draw, the Black Stars won 7-6 in the resultant shoot-out. Incidentally, after two matches were played on the opening day of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, no goals were recorded as the South Africa-Cape Verde and the Angola-Morocco Group A matches ended goalless. It was a combination between Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu that gave the tournament its first goal. Agyemang-Badu scrambled out the goal in the goal area. However, though Ghana took a 2-0 lead, DR Congo came in strongly to draw level through Tresor Mputu Mabi and Dieumaerci Mbokani, who did not shy away from his trademark goal celebration. I saw the 2-2 scoreline as good omen for that same luck in 1982 to strike again.
It will be nauseous at this point to mention that the past four African Cup titles won by the Black Stars have been through Ghanaian coaches. It is one of the strong arguments put out by exponents of local coaches handling the Black Stars. Indeed, it’s been a long while since Ghana went to the Africa Cup with a local coach. In the last 10 editions Ghana has participated in, it was only once that a local coach led the team and that came with camp troubles. Fred Osam Duodu leading Ghana to the Mali 2002 tourney saw the dismissal of Sammy Osei Kufuor, a player who was billed to win the Africa Player of the Year accolade. How mean of Ghanaian authorities? By the way, Ghana went out at the quarter final stage at the expense of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. But Kwesi Appiah’s lead has been met with rousing play by his charges as every one of them would want to see the success of the team. Indeed, football experts have said that when players play for a coach, 75% of the job is done.
For me, Kwesi Appiah lacks the technical know-how to deliver the African Cup title but only one thing can work for him. LUCK!
His axing of Andre Dede Ayew came with mixed feeling. I disagreed with him on that decision! My reason was simple. His (Appiah’s) excuse were too lame. Besides, the Africa Cup tournament is not for every player. In other words, not all players can play at the tournament. African football is characterized by physique, stamina, strength and character. Not all players can face this challenge in their career. The European game is about formations and followed-through tactics. Most of the Black Stars players can fit in easily. The point is this: All players who can play African football can play European football but not all players that play European football can play African football. Players like Dede Ayew are built to play the African type of football. Batted, muscled and sometimes horned like it happened in the Ghana-Tunisia quarter final match at the 2012 edition, Dede Ayew still continued hard till he got a goal for Ghana. Judging from the way he got the goal, many other players would have hesitated as he was shouldered a little by a Tunisian defender. Most of the players Kwesi Appiah selected failed to glitter in the opener (and I don’t want to draw any semblances to Lionel Messi nor the penalty Ghana conceded). Therefore, axing a player like Dede Ayew was wrong on the part of Kwesi Appiah.
What is more, the formation in Europe is different from that in Africa, as stated earlier. Therefore, Kwadwo Asamoah playing in left-back at Juventus does not mean he can play at the same position on the African terrain. No wonder, most of the attack from DR Congo in Ghana’s first match was from the left side.
Indeed, it is good Ghana has a local coach in charge. That’s good enough omen that the Black Stars will win the tourney.