Tactical coach Isaac Opeele Boateng has identified a loophole in Ghana’s formation at the ongoing AFCON tournament in Egypt and has predicted an early exit from the tournament if not solved sooner than later.
Pre-tournament favourites Ghana were held to a 2-2 stalemate by Benin in their opening group F match on Tuesday, casting doubts on the Stars ability, but despite playing at a numerical disadvantage, Opeele Boateng has attributed the struggle to improper positioning of captain Andre Ayew and Thomas Partey on the field of play.
Opeele believes coach Kwasi Appiah can only get the best out of Partey if he is played behind the striker, the number ten position where he has scored on several occasions for the Black Stars instead of playing him at the orthodox number eight position.
The Black Stars captain Andre (Dede) Ayew’s favourite position has been the number ten, where he plays comfortably and scores more, but can also play at the right side of attack. Coach Opeele has urged Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah to shift Partey to the number ten position while Andre moves to the right wing, or drops Partey in favour of Andre.
“There is only one problem facing us which if not solved it will bring us home from the tournament; that is Dede Ayew and Partey, one must give the other space or one of them is benched”, Opeele said in an interview with FOX FM on Focal Sports.
He continued, “Partey cannot play orthodox eight, cannot play, you don’t expect Partey to be able to tackle and pass with stamina for 90 minutes, he can’t, he will be tired. You can’t also put Partey at number six to go and shield defenders, Partey’s actual position where he’s scored for Ghana where he’s played and scored a hat-trick is the number ten position where he operates behind the striker, that is where Partey must be placed”, Opeele argued.
As a student of the game, coach Opeele explained who must play where to ensure Ghana goes through the tournament smoothly, or else face early exit. “Afriyie Acquah should play at the number six (holding role), he is a defensive midfielder, then Wakaso plays number eight so that we know Partey plays behind the striker where he can score, then Dede Ayew shifts to the seven (right wing) where we all know he plays or if Dede scores more when he plays at the number ten position then he should play his ten so that Partey sits on the bench so that we get someone who can tackle and pass with the stamina for 90minutes, if not and we keep playing Partey as the number eight then I know this problem will hunt us and will finally bring us home”, he explained.
According to the former Asante Kotoko and Tema Youth coach, Partey is more deadly playing behind the striker and should be maintained there while Andre plays on the right wing, but if Andre Ayew being the captain chooses the number ten position as his favourite then the Athletico Madrid midfielder Partey should be benched for a natural number eight player to handle that position.