Thursday, 20 June 2013

Beat Uruguay for Africa - Gyan

Nigeria © SS

The last time an African team played the one from Uruguay there was weeping wailing and the gnashing of teeth. The weeping of joy was done by the South Americans and the gnashing and wailing by the Africans after Ghana allowed a sure victory to be wrestled from their grasp when Abreu converted possibly the calmest penalty in the history of football.
It’s been quite a while since that fateful July evening in Johannesburg and things have changed dramatically for the side that would eventually lose to Germany in the third place game by a lone goal. While the South American champions still boast of the mercurial and cunning Suarez the rest of the team has lost its fizzle and is far removed from that sound side that impressed us all at the World cup.
On paper at least, they currently stand on equal footing with the Africa champion but only because Nigeria is without her most brilliant player Moses and has not found her groove in the last three games she has played. While Folan their undisputed pendulum still swings he mainly does this out of rhythm as we saw against Spain. In addition to this the mid field simply does not exist.
Plus the timing of the tournament couldn't be more complicated for the Celeste as well. Their bid to join the real party in Brazil next year is in considerable jeopardy as they lie in an inglorious sixth place in the South American qualifier after 11 out of the 16 round-robin matches. So they simply can’t throw caution to the wind and must guard against injury.
If we say that their midfield has failed to click then their defense has to be called nothing short of a disaster. Uruguay have the worst defensive record in the WC qualifiers, alongside Paraguay, having shipped 21 goals in 11 games while scoring 17.
Their 4-4-2 with the roaming back three will be severely tested by the West African speed who themselves have been reminded again of the disaster in Johannesburg and their need to get revenge for the entire Africa. The reminder came from no one else than Asamoah Gyan himself who sent the Eagles a special message urging them on to victory.
It simply read “do it for Africa”. On Thursday we will know if they will. It certainly is not ‘Mission Impossible’.