Friday, March 27, 2015

Olele, Grant and Dede: The three major talking points

Good day good people of Ghana. Time check is “too fast” o’clock! Is it just me or does time move faster… like literally faster these days, or it’s my to-do list growing taller by day. Speaking of lists, wasn’t it only yesterday when we began the year with New Year’s resolutions? Before we could even get to item 2 on the list, Easter Bunny just zipped into town and I am tempted to do a “zapper” review of Ghana football in the first quarter, but then, I am thinking that will be a yam too heavy. Maybe we should just stick to the slim cassava that was last Ghana week. We really should, it’s fresher and lighter, just what we need as we recharge for the second quarter. Sit back as we dissect the major football events over the past week. Three, two, one, action!

“Olele” back to the Stars?

Richard “Olele” Kingson aka Kalypo is a “hard guy” as we say in our local parlance. The man simply has too many lives. The man who got the “t” off his surname; the man who also holds Turkish citizenship and responds to the name Faruk Gürsoy wants a last hurrah with the Black Stars. Kingson has been in impressive form since returning to his mother club, Accra Great Olympics. In the last couple of weeks, he saved two penalties as Olympics eliminated Ebusua Dwrafs in the MTN FA Cup. He topped that performance by making important saves as Olympics defeated Liberty Professionals 1-0 to move out of the relegation zone. Hear him “I don’t know if I will get a call up again into the Black Stars team, since I have not retired everything is possible in football, but for now I am concentrating on my club Olympics,” Kingson is quoted by Sportscrusader.com. Well, well, well Olele has every right to a call doesn’t he? After all, he is only 36 years and the average shelf life of goalkeepers is 40, so he has about 2-3 years in him. The only reason people seem to discard him is that he has been around for so long, but considering that the Black Stars are currently struggling in that department, why not extend a call to the man who had his first cap in 1996 and a total of 90. Olele may have the 100 cap mark in mind, a feat recently reached by his Nigerian colleague Vincent Enyeama. Well, if you know the number of times Olele has come back from the dead, you wouldn’t dismiss his new ambition! 

What’s up Avram Grant? 

Yeah, those would be my first words when I meet him. Grant is currently in France prepping the Black Stars for a double friendly versus Senegal and Mali on March 28 and 31 respectively. Grant called a 22 man squad for the double header and the composition of the team has generated some debate. Grant has been questioned as to why no local outfield player was included in the squad. Premier League Board Chairman Welbeck Abrah Appiah waded into the debate and is reported to have mooted a quota for local players. What’s my take? Well, I think the quota idea may be stretching the issue a wee bit but upon close scrutiny I do have a couple of questions for Mr. Avram Grant indeed.
My first question will be why Seidu Salifu? Make no mistake, the Tunisia based enforcer is one heck of a tough guy who has been doing the business for Club Africaine. So, it’s not a question of his quality, not at all. What I seek from Grant is why another defensive midfielder when that position is stacked with many contenders who have established themselves. Afriyie Acquah, Rabiu Mohammed, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and even Mubarak Wakaso can slot in nicely. Now there is nothing wrong if Grant wants to observe Seidu, if it is so, then one of the aforementioned should have been dropped to create space for the call up of a lateral defender because the team is seriously short in that department. When the squad was initially announced, Baba Rahman was part; he and Harrison Afful were the only two natural lateral defenders. Baba has since withdrawn due to injury and guess who Grant called up, a striker, Richmond Boakye-Yiadom. Now, here is why I think Grant’s critics may have genuine concern. Why call up a striker for a defender and especially a lateral defender? Baba’s absence means only one natural lateral defender Afful remains. If there aren’t enough defenders abroad, there are decent ones on the local terrain; one of Alfred Nelson, Abeiku Ainooson or Joshua Tijani should at least have gotten a call up. The essence of these friendlies is to plug in the holes identified within teams and for me the lateral defense needs shoring up. Disappointingly, it seems Grant is less concerned with that. If he was, he would have considered the home based defenders. So, Mr. Grant, once again what’s your plan… tell me, what’s up?

Dede Ayew: Elmina or Cape Coast?

Well, it’s neither of those two central regional suburbs, but we all know Dede is in a bit of a dilemma, isn’t he? Dede Ayew’s contract with Marseille runs out at the end of the season and there have been many speculations linking him to Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton. The Newcastle and Everton bids are reported to be the strong ones and Dede could possible end up with one of these teams. While, it will be refreshing to see Dede in the English Premier League (EPL) and for him, a personal opportunity to challenge himself in a different country, many have described those purported moves as a step down considering Marseille has a higher pedigree those two mid-table teams. My advice for Dede? “Little bro” take the move if the numbers are right, challenge yourself and of course you will become more visible in the EPL than if you stayed with Marseille, who have lost a bit of shine anyways. You would only be a season or two away from a high profile move once you prove yourself. Capisce?

Yes, Dede understands and I hope you understand too that we have to sign off now (my food is getting cold). We will break off for Easter and we will touch base right after. Now, where is my Waakye …. (Lol)

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