BUDU’S CORNER: 6 Local Stars Fit For Black Stars Stardom Featured
18 May

BUDU’S CORNER: 6 Local Stars Fit For Black Stars Stardom

The Black Stars of Ghana were once a force to reckon with as far as football is concerned globally. The mere thought of playing the Black Stars alone sent shivers down the spine of their opponents. Three consecutive FIFA World Cup appearances are enough to corroborate this assertion.

Quite paradoxically, things are beginning to change for the erstwhile ‘Giants’ of African football. The Black Stars have failed to win the coveted AFCON title since they last won in 1882. 
 
A lot of eyebrows have been raised; Kwasi Appiah’s tactical nous has been questioned; the performances of the players in recent times has become a worry to Ghanaians who are calling for the inclusion of new faces in the Black Stars set up.
 
The situation has been obvious for some time now but it took the nation a little while longer to catch on.
 
Known as the ‘Brazil of African football’, the country is endowed with enormous football talents regardless of where they play; a Ghanaian talent is easily identifiable. 
 
The ongoing Normalisation Committee Special Competition has produced a lot of these stars who will easily fit into the Black Stars setup – just imagine my plight as I attempted to whittle down a huge shortlist to pick out six of the competition’s outstanding performers who can compete for a place in the Black Stars.
 
MOHAMMED ALHASSAN
•    Club: Hearts of Oak
•    Position: Defender(centre-back)
 
Undeniably underappreciated, Hearts’ centre-back in the Ghanaian Premier League. 
 
The tall defender has already gained a cult hero status since joining the Accra club from WAFA.
 
Although aggressive, he has a patient side as well and does not rush in and tackle unnecessarily. He gives a solid presence at the back and can dominate the box. He can also work his way forward and start attacks from the back.
 
Additionally, he is not flustered under pressure and clears his lines when necessary. Perhaps more importantly, he is a leader, the kind of player others look up to and improve upon their game to impress.
 
With him in the side, the Phobian faithful know that the other teammates will perform because he wouldn’t have it otherwise. It is, perhaps, one of the reasons why regardless of what changes are forced on the Hearts defensive back line, they always retain a fair degree of tightness. 
 
ABDUL FATAWU SAFIW
 
•    Club: Asante Kotoko
•    Position: Forward
 
Abdul Fatawu Safiu looks a player reborn in the ongoing competition.
 
The lanky forward after some sojourns abroad decided to relaunch his career with Techiman Eleven Wonders with whom he was for a season before that move to Kotoko that has seen him grabbing all the headlines in a team that has Felix Annan and Songne Yacouba.
 
He scored 3 goals in Kotoko’s African campaign and so far scored 7 goals in the NC Special competition. Safiu is a good dribbler and outwits his markers with ease. He can play as a number 10 or a false 9.
 
He is renowned for his clever movement, where he drifts into pockets of space from a false 9 role to create angles for teammates. His intelligence with space and eye for a pass also makes him an attractive option playing behind a striker. He is a dead-ball specialist too.
 
• FATAWU MOHAMMED
• Club: Hearts of Oak
• Position: Right back/ Right- wingback
 
The Hearts of Oak skipper is a delight to watch. He is an energetic presence and provides plenty of cuts and thrust down the right flank, but he isn’t found wanting defensively.
 
He forces turnovers high up the field before inching forwards into the opponent’s half. He likes to combine with his right winger/right-back, progressing down the line with his 1-2s and transitions, rather than looking to beat players with skill or pace. Fatawu can also play as a midfielder.
 
Perhaps his biggest strength is his game intelligence. Incredibly mature and composed as a leader, he has good communication and organizing skills which ensure that defensive lapses do not occur. He could be an ideal back-up for Andy Yiadom.
 
• KWAME BONSU
• Club: Asante Kotoko
• Position: Midfielder
 
Touted as the next big thing happen to Ghana football, the 24-year-old midfielder has been nothing short of a revelation in his debut campaign with the Porcupine Warriors.
 
With two goals and as many sterling performances in his cluster of appearances for the Kumasi based club, so far there’s been much to admire about the chap.
 
Due to his well-roundedness, he can play in various positions and roles but is mostly assigned a deep-lying or box-box midfield role.
 
He is blessed with an ability to change direction with almost effortless ease, and his balance on the ball- combined with a great awareness of what’s around him- makes him a constant threat.
 
Possessing an appreciable height and with an unusually neat technique for a player of his age. He is a good passer of the ball, loves shooting from long ranges and dribbles when necessary.
 
With his driving runs, slick passes and discipline, the youngster is surely ready to rub shoulders with established names in the Black Stars.
 
              
• JAMES AKAMINKO
• Club: Ashantigold SC
• Position: Midfielder
 
Ashgold’s crowning jewel, James Akaminko is arguably the best volante one can find in Ghana’s domestic football. He is a conductor.
 
He makes his side tick and rarely gives the ball away- but doesn’t just pass sideways. The midfield metronome is capable of spraying lengthy passes, keeping the game simple, or executing the killer balls that really matter.
 
Technically excellent and difficult for opposing midfielders to catch with or without the ball, he will surely be difficult to oust from the team once granted an opportunity with the Black Stars.
 
• EMMANUEL GYAMFI
• Club: Asante Kotoko
• Position: Winger
             
Currently tearing up and down the flank for the Porcupine Warriors, the 22- year- old is having a fantastic season this term.
 
With is versatility, he can play on either side of the wing as evidenced in his games for Kotoko. He tries to do better and has done better.
 
He is an exceptional engine, always ready to execute his duties efficiently and effectively. He runs, his movement is great, he’s brave and exceptionally humble. 
 
As ever the intelligent winger is always seen setting the tone beautifully for his side with his splendid displays, pressing relentlessly and tracking back doggedly, as his tricks and pace unsettles opponents.
 
He is believed to be the best or one of the best in his position in the domestic league.  Whilst he is no slouch in defence, he offers a great recovery pace. His is a high risk/ high reward style winger.
 
When Gyamfi is focused and confident, there isn’t much out there to stop him.
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