Frimpong: This is my moment

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

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Frimpong is ready to seize his moment if coach Kwasi Appiah fields him in the Black Stars’ 2014 World Cup qualifier against the Nile Crocodiles of The Sudan at the Baba Yara Stadium.

He arrived in the country last Monday for Sunday’s clash and was determined to fight for his place in the national team, saying that his invitation by Coach Appiah was indicative the midfielder was good enough to feature for his country of birth.

The 21-year-old said on his arrival at the Kotoka International Airport that, as a player he was used to playing under pressure and would not be overawed by the occasion in what could become an emotional homecoming in Kumasi, the city of his birth.

“The nature of my job is pressure and I am used to it.”

Frimpong, Sweden-based David Accam and defender Isaac Vorsah were among the foreign legion that arrived last Monday, but Tuesday Coach Kwasi Appiah had almost a full complement of his players as he began preparation for the match  with his first training session at the accra Sports Stadium.

The Stars will move camp to Kumasi today (Wednesday) for final preparation for Sunday’s crucial game, the result of which could, to a large extent, determine Ghana’s fate in the qualifiers.

Three points and three goals awarded Zambia after Sudan fielded an unqualified player in a group game has placed Ghana at a tight corner and they have nothing to do but to roll the juggernaut for the rest of the qualifying games to keep themselves in the race.

The usual blitz leading up to matches between the Black Stars in Kumasi may not be visible at the soccer-crazy city at the moment.

Understandably so in view of the unimpressive showing in AFCON 2013 and some developments at home, but the situation is expected to witness a change when the team arrives from Accra and hold their first training at the Paa Joe Stadium later in the afternoon.

A huge responsibility lies on Coach Appiah to convince the Ghanaian football public that the Black Stars are not dead-certified for a berth in the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Coming not long after the AFCON flop, Appiah is under pressure to make amends and revive the fortunes of the team.

He has called a squad with the potential to bring hope to a nation dying to see their team amongst the best in the world.

With the exception of Porto midfielder Christian Atsu who failed to respond to the call-up due to injury, the remaining 23 players are in high spirit.

The team is made up of goalkeepers Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals)

The defenders include Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Yaw Frimpong (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Richard Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Baba Abdul Rahman (Greuther Furth, Germany), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa).

In midfield,  Emmanuel Frimpong (Fulham, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy),, Wakaso Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England) make up the numbers while the attack include Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), David Accam (Helsingborg, Sweden ) and Mahatma Otoo (Hearts of Oak).

There is no question about the materials at hand but the ability to mould a winning team is crucial. This is where the tactical ability of the Ghanaian trainer must show.

So far, Appiah has shown maturity, remaining quiet in the face of criticisms at home and focusing on how to correct his mistakes of the past.

Ghana needs to sharpen up both physically and mentally for the match, which surely will be hard-fought.

In spite of the points deduction, Sudan will refuse to countenance a defeat to Ghana and will come out all fighting.

The Sudanese are aware victory could put them back in contention depending on the outcome of the other game between Lesotho and Zambia.

They come to Kumasi with a blend of young and experienced players who cannot be taken for granted and the Black Stars should watch out for the veterans, Haitham Mustapha and Mohammed Al-Tahir.

Story by Kwame Asare Boadu