It was a night to forget for Kwesi Appiah’s charges as the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia made history against the Black Stars.
Ghana’s dominant run against Tunisia hit a snag as they lost on penalties to the North Africans in the last game of the round of 16.
The West Africans, who had never lost to the Tunisians in a major competition prior to last night, were dumped out of the 2019 AFCON tournament.
The recurring problems of the structure of the team have been, time without number, questioned by football fanatics in the country.
What is the actual depth of the mess of Ghana’s footballing body?
A distorted football association, a confused system to revive football in Ghana and no clear plan for the future of football, among other things.
The loss against Tunisia cements arguments raised against the association(s) that manage football in the country.
Let me walk you through the four things that went wrong for the Ghanaian team.
Kwesi Appiah is tactically deficient
Harsh as it may seem, Kwesi Appiah, according to critics, is not highly gifted technically as his changes are very much a description of how little he knows about the dynamics of the game.
Deploying a 4-2-1-3 setup last night, he did not put the right players in the right positions.
The deep-lying defensive midfielders were good. Thumbs up for that but playing Jordan Ayew on the left side of attack? A big question.
The Swansea City forward barely took on Yassine Meriah who was very good for the Tunisians.
Dede Ayew playing in an attacking position struggled. The captain of the side is not a winger or the brightest of forwards and thus playing him in a high-profile game like this was not the best.
Just like his brother, he failed to impress and take on his opponents. Although he won a few fouls, it was not enough to produce anything substantive.
The substitution effected by Kwesi Appiah were however late and had little effect on the game as he maintained an already figured out lineup.
The first change for the Black Stars came in the 75th minute, just after the team conceded.
Caleb Ekuban replaced Afriyie Acquah who at the time was solid for the team with a solid partnership with Wakaso.
The change meant Thomas Partey was shifted to the defensive midfield role, a position he hardly puts up a good performance in when he wears the Ghana jersey.
A very tired Dede Ayew came off for Asamoah Gyan in the 84th minute before the extra-time changes, where Kwabena Owusu and Lumor Agbenyenu all came in to play their part in the game.
As the game progressed, Dede Ayew had very little impact on the game and he was played out of position.
His substitution should have come long before he was actually hauled off, as should Jordan Ayew who played all 120 minutes, and that cost the team as there was no sharp edge in front of goal.
LACKLUSTER IN THE ATTACK
Although the Black Stars had eight shots on target in the game, they were never a real threat to the Carthage Eagles.
The team had Jordan Ayew, Samuel Owusu and Dede Ayew with Thomas Partey playing just behind them but lacked the creativity to unlock the Tunisians.
The only bright player among them was Samuel Owusu, the Čukarički star who took on his opponents really well but was poor in his final decision making as he sometimes over elaborated his skilful play.
The team’s attack could not produce any clear cut opportunities in the game.
This, however, has been the problem of the Black Stars as they scored only five goals at the AFCON with one being an own goal.
The lack of innovation has been a worrying factor and James Kwesi Appiah has not been able to resolve it.
LACK OF COHESION AMONG THE CENTRE-BACKS
Ghana have had to use several pairings at the back with Jonathan Mensah, Joseph Aidoo and Nuhu Kasim rotating with John Boye.
The game against Tunisia saw John Boye being partnered with Kasim Nuhu and the duo did not perform as expected.
Although individually they have been solid, the two, however, had problems in coordinating with each other to shut down the Tunisian attacks as they looked more threatening.
John Boye and Kasim Nuhu both had yellow cards to their names as they were not able to discipline themselves enough.
The team is expected to return to Accra today and head off to their various clubs and prepare for the next season.