NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – Ghana head coach Kwesi Appiah says Kenya missing influential skipper Victor Wanyama for their 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Saturday might be more of a headache to him than an actual relief.
The midfielder will not be available for the tie as he is yet to gain the requisite match fitness following a month-long injury lay off from a recurring knee injury.
“No actually, because with him, at least I know him but with another person there, I don’t know what to expect,” Appiah responded when asked by Capital Sport on whether the midfielder’s absence is an advantage for them.
He went on to note that it might also be a blessing in disguise for Kenya to expose a new talent in the same position, saying that African coaches should not be over-dependent on select players.
“African coaches should move from that aspect of sticking to one particular team for years. The more you do that the more you destroy the team for the future. It is important to keep changing and bring in new ones to give them an opportunity,” the tactician offered.
With Wanyama missing, the man set to replace him at the heart of midfield might be a man hugely familiar to Appiah, Anthony Akumu. The former Gor midfielder worked with Appiah during their stint at Sudanese club Al Khartoum.
Ghana trained at the Kasarani Stadium on Friday evening, the eve of their huge battle against the Harambee Stars in a crucial 2019 AFCON qualification tie.
Appiah believes it will be a tough match against Kenya, saying having watched and analyzed a few of their past matches, they are a decent team that can pose serious danger.
“I believe football has come of age and for that reason you cannot underrate anyone. Kenya has a good team and it’s important that playing against them we prepare well. They have supporters and everything behind them but we are coming to give them a good game,” Appiah said.
He added; “I have watched some few games and I think you have a good team. It’s a matter of giving the coaches and players support and I believe they can do much better.”
Appiah selected a squad full of fresh faces with some key names including skipper Asamoah Gyan and the Ayew brothers (Dede and Jordan) being omitted from the squad.
While pointing out the three stars are still part of his future plans, Appiah says that he made the decision to give new players an opportunity as he tries to build a squad that will not only qualify for next year’s AFCON but qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after missing out in Russia this year.
“The assignment given to me is to try build a team for not only AFCON but the future. The only way to do that is making sure I drop some and bring new players; that’s the only way to build strong team. A good team is one that has bench,”
“The focus is getting some young guys in now. We have put all this into consideration; what will be their age and performance in about four years… The vision is to try to get to the World Cup but we can only do that if we start now with the young players now,” the tactician further stated.
Ghana started their campaign with a thumping 5-0 win over Ethiopia and they lead Group F. A win against Kenya will be a massive boost for their AFCON 2019 qualification hopes.