Ghana once again failed to impress after recording a second successive draw in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Black Stars drew goalless with defending champions Cameroon on Saturday – a result which has blown Group F wide open.
Kwesi Appiah’s men have now picked up just two points from two games and will need to win their third group game against Guinea-Bissau to stand any chance of progression.
Pulse Sports takes a look at five observations from the game:
5. Richard Ofori was Ghana’s standout player
The Black Stars played better against Cameroon than they did against Benin last week, however, the performance still left a lot to be desired.
The fact that goalkeeper Richard Ofori was the best Ghanaian player on the pitch typifies how lethargic the Black Stars were.
The Maritzburg United goalie produced a standout save to deny Christian Bassogog in the second half to keep the Black Stars on level terms. He was also in the right place many times to foil Cameroon’s long balls.
There is still a lot to improve on, but Ofori was one of few players to come out of the Cameroon game with his head held high.
4. Jonathan Mensah stakes claim for regular berth
Aside Richard Ofori, Jonathan Mensah also staked a huge claim for a regular starting berth. The centre-back’s performance was epitomised by his timely tackle to stop Karl Toko who was through and had the goal at his mercy.
The Columbus Crew defender went into the AFCON as a man out of favour. However, he has taken his chance following John Boye’s absence due to suspension.
Against Guinea-Bissau, Boye will be back but it is clear to Ghanaians and Kwesi Appiah that Mensah and Nuhu Adams should be the Black Stars’ first-choice defensive partnership.
3. Kwesi Appiah running out of time to prove himself
‘Kwesi Appiah doesn’t inspire confidence’. By now this has become a cliché regularly used by the 58-year-old’s critics.
But on the face of what transpired against Cameroon, it is fair to say that Appiah is gradually running out of time to win over his critics.
In his pre-match conference, he spoke about building a team for the future, rather than a concentration on winning the tournament. Who does that?
His utterances do not inspire confidence and his demeanor is symptomatic of the dull, lifeless performance that the Black Stars churned out against the Indomitable Lions.
2. Cameroon and Seedorf played for a draw
While the Black Stars were eager to record a win, there was very little pressure on Cameroon to go all out.
The Indomitable Lions won their first game against Guinea-Bissau and therefore came into this fixture in a very good position.
More importantly, Clarence Seedorf had a clear plan about the approach to the game. The Dutchman set up his side to soak the pressure and play on the counter.
By the 70th minute, it was clear that Cameroon were content with earning a draw and they strategically positioned themselves to get that all-important point. As it stands, the defending champions are in a good position to top Group F, should they win their last game against Benin.
1. Why keep Gyan on the bench when you need a goal?
For the second game in a row, Kwesi Appiah failed to get his substitutions rights when the Black Stars desperately needed inspiration from the bench.
Why keep Gyan on the bench for almost 80 minutes when you clearly need a goal? The Kayserispor striker may not be as sharp as he used to be, but he is still a threat on any day.
Gyan’s impact was felt following his introduction, as he immediately forced Cameroon to retreat into their own half in the dying embers of the game.
Now, with the Black Stars in dire need of a win against Guinea-Bissau, it will be surprising to see Gyan on the bench against the African Wild Dogs.