Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah would have realised by watching Juventus’ 2-0 win at Pescara on Saturday which player to chase for an invitation back in the Black Stars ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June.
Returning to the side after sitting out the Champions League victory against Barcelona, Kwadwo Asamoah held his mettle and got high ratings to prove why he could still play an important part in the Ghanaian national team while compatriot Sulley Muntari struggled to influence the game before being hauled off minutes into the second half.
Gonzalo Higuain scored a brace for the visitors giving him the highest ratings of the game (8.70 according to WhoScored.com) but Asamoah, playing from the left side of the defence, got the second highest rating of 8.17 ahead of Juan Cuadrado’s 8.02.
The 28-year-old Ghanaian had his team’s highest pass accuracy of 93.5 per cent from 71 touches of the ball and won one aerial challenge.
In contrast, Muntari, 32, earned a yellow card in the third minute and had 39 touches from his central midfield position for pass accuracy of 73 per cent. He had one shot before being substituted on 53 minutes to prevent him from being sent off after his foul on Paulo Dybala.
It is clear that Appiah needs Asamoah back in the Black Stars as the manager returns to the role he left after the second place finish at Afcon 2015. Asamoah can bring back a lot of energy and zest to the midfield of the Stars who have struggled in 2018 World Cup qualification so far, falling behind Egypt and Uganda on the standings.
While Muntari has apologised for the debacle of the 2014 World Cup that saw him thrown out of camp, it is not certain if Appiah would consider him fully reformed for another campaign. The same fate may hold for Kevin-Prince Boateng, though enjoying the best game of his career at Las Palmas with a record-setting goals run. Both players could be overlooked by Appiah for their disrespect of his office during the campaign in Brazil three years ago.
However, a good manager is one that understands how to bring the divergent characters in a team to form a synergy.