End of the road for Maxwell Konadu?
In his last game in charge as interim boss of the Black Stars of Ghana Maxwell Konadu will leave the individuals who have made frantic calls for him to be handed the job on a permanent basis scratching their heads.
It almost seems as if he had set out to lose the game after a closer look at his starting lineup.
The goalkeeping department has seen three different set of gloves in just eight games.
With the absence of the local league, one might argue that he was left with no option than to start with Mirandes Fc shot stopper Razak Braimah since the options of Dauda and Adams have been dormant and as a result, lack competitive match sharpness.
A closer look at Maxwell Konadu against the Guineans in Tamale gave one the indication that his inter-personal relationship with the squad was a notch higher than his predecessor, Kwesi Appiah.
Why then has he not been able to leverage on these human skills to convince Ghana’s most active and consistent keeper Adam Kwarasey to join the side?
He has failed to instill that leadership in defense that every world-class side requires.
Defensive leadership transcends into a properly coordinated unit but basic positioning and communication of the unit was missing during the entire duration of the game.
Individual players including Jonathan Mensah and John Boye have stalled in their development.
Jonathan has over the past few years veered away from the composed defender who could marshall the rest of his defensive partners as witnessed during the U-20 World Cup triumph in 2009.
In recent games, he has looked nervous especially when dealing with crosses and dead-ball situations most prominent among them was his failure to pick up Miroslav Klose in the 2-2 draw to Germany during the World Cup in Brazil.
Again, he failed to pick up Savio Kabugo at far post which eventually resulted in the only goal of the game against the Ugandans.
Boye, a once assuring pillar at the back, doesn’t seem to have overcome the nerves from his atrocious 2014 World Cup outing.
He constantly gave the ball away in dangerous areas and failed to offer anything from set piece situations.
It will be interesting to hear the coach’s explanation for fielding a three man defensive midfield partnership when creating clear scoring opportunities has been the team’s bane over the years.
Favoring a tactically-suspect Agyemang Badu to play in the free role ahead of Andre Ayew came as the biggest shock.
Badu’s lack of understanding of the role tp which he had been assigned was evident as he failed to offer Majeed Warris any form of support upfront.
It was even more shocking to see that the coach left him untouched for the entire game.
One figure who emerged as a diamond in the dirt from the last game against Guinea was TP Mazembe’s Solomon Asante who was named in the initial shortlist for African Player of the Year based in Africa.
However, his late arrival in camp might have played a major role in the coach’s decision to leave him out of the starting lineup.
The decision of the coach to introduce him in the latter stages of the match for Afriyie Acquah was another questionable substitution as Acquah had, up to that point, been the only player in the line up with the ability to hold up the ball in the midfield area.
Asante immediately showed why he has the answers to the Black Stars creative problems by beating his marker twice in quick succession to deliver dangerous crosses into the box his teammates failed to utilize.
His direct running unsettled the Cranes’ defense leaving fans and pundits alike puzzled as to why it took the coach that long to recognize the weakness in the tactical set up of the opponent and how best to exploit it.
In a nutshell, Maxwell Konadu painfully made it clear that he still has a lot to learn when it comes to reading and reacting to situations as well as deciding what his best side is.
Certainly, this was not the way he would have wanted to audition for a job he must have been aiming at in the future.
Welcome Avram Grant
For incoming manager Avram Grant he has a difficult task on his hands to guide back unto the right path a Black Stars side who seem to have lost their way tactically.
A good place to start will be to restore order and consistency to the team’s defense.
Often known for his zonal marking specialty in set piece situations, it remains to be seen if he can correct the error of constantly conceding goals not just from dead ball situations but from situations that bring the ball into the team’s penalty area from the wide areas. This is very evident in the last three matches of the Black Stars (against Guinea both home and away and the one in Kampala).
A lot has been said about the vast amount of youthful talent that abounds currently in the Black Stars and Avram Grant is widely respected for interest for developing and giving youthful players a chance.
Technically gifted youngsters like Baba Rahman,David Accam and Christain Atsu will be hoping that his arrival will afford them more opportunities to expand their game.
Especially in the case of Christian Atsu, his development as an inverted winger seems to have slowed following the brilliant start to his national team career.
Opponents haven’t had a lot of difficulty dispossessing him when he attempts his trademark move of cutting inside with the intention to place his shots.
Finally, Grant will have to get this current team to show intensity,determination,grit and character as these attributes have deserted this generation of Black Stars players.
The spiritless performance that resulted in this 1-0 defeat against the Cranes is enough evidence for any individual who saw the Black Stars play for the first time to quickly decide that the Black Stars have lost their punch.
By: Benjamin Nketsia/citifmonline