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Young guns make Black Stars Africa's best hopes
by Paul Kennedy, December 7th, 2013 3:09AM

TAGS:  ghana, men's national team


[WORLD CUP 2014: Ghana] Our Group of Death is their Group of Death. Ghana has reached the knockout phase of both World Cup finals in which it has participated, and it's been tipped as the likeliest African team to one day challenge for the title, but Friday's draw that put the Black Stars in Group G with Germany, Portugal and their old foe, the USA, complicates matters for next summer.

USA-Ghana: June 16, 6 p.m. ET, Natal

“Ghana is in the Group of Death," star Asamoah Gyan told a Ghanaian radio station Friday night, "but we will get there."

Ghana beat the USA, 2-1, at the 2006 World Cup and did the same four years ago to send the USA packing in the round of 16. Veterans like Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Gyan, whose overtime goal beat the USA in South Africa, should all return for their third World Cups, but it's the Black Stars' young guns who make them Africa's best hopes -- if they can get out of Group G.

In the first leg of the final round of qualifying against Egypt, Ghana was without starters Jonathan Mensah and John Boye at center back, but the backline of Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Jerry Akaminko and Rashid Sumaila did just fine. Their average age is just 23, and only Inkoom is a holdover from 2010 when his first World Cup appearance came in the round of 16 against the USA.

The first leg in Kumasi was a testament to Ghana's attacking strength. The Black Stars won, 6-1, but could have scored another half dozen goals. Gyan loves playing with 22-year-old Abdul Majeed Waris with whom he teamed up for three goals against Egypt.

"Playing with Waris is good for me," says Gyan, whose overtime goal eliminated the USA four years ago. "He understands me and I also understand his play. He is a very talented young player who always listens to what I tell him and he does just that."

But Waris is just one of many young Ghanaian attackers. Andre and Jordan Ayew, sons of the legendary Abedi Pele, are 23 and 22, respectively, while Christian Atsu, who also scored against Egypt, is only 21. Still coming through the pipeline are the youngsters from Ghana's exciting team that finished second at this year's Under-20 World Cup.

Possible 23
Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Richard Kingson (Doxa).
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), David Addy (Vitoria Guimaraes), John Boye (Rennes), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United), Jonathan Mensah (Evian).
Midfielders: Michael Essien (Chelsea), Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal) Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Kevin Prince Boateng (Schalke 04), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan).
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Jordan Ayew (Marseille), Mahatma Otoo (Sogndal), Christian Atsu (Vitesse).

  1. David Huff
    commented on: December 7, 2013 at 1:12 p.m.
    Down with Ghana, down with the Black Stars! May they be falling stars instead!
  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: December 7, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
    On paper there midfield and forwards look solid, however defense could be a downfall. The only problem is that USA main forward altidore is struggling at Sunderland, Johan son is peaking, and johnson ehh.
  1. Joy Hottington
    commented on: December 11, 2013 at 6:45 a.m.
    Johannsson is peaking? What in the world gives you that impression. It could turn out to be correct, but I don't see one bit of real reason to say it. If Dempsey and Donovan are in form, the US will be formidable for Ghana and it will be a matchup of two young and suspect defenses. But the US will have Howard.
  1. Andre Matthew
    commented on: January 2, 2014 at 2:29 a.m.
    I love to play and watch football. Specially Ghana black stars matches, and the its leg against Egypt was awesome. I am sure they will rock in the world cup 2014. They are doing their best now a days for the better performance in the battle. check their preparation here

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