Ghana draw with Bafana
Posted: 15 January 2012 Time: 18:12
Ghana played out a 1-1 draw against a third string South Africa side at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in the first of two practice games ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Coach Goran Stevanovic put a week's work of training to practise before a small but noisy crowd and got a return that would have done little to convice the team's doubters that they have what it takes to win the Nations Cup title.
In what was a typical practice game, full of substitutions and players clearly with the thought of the real thing at the back of their mind more than anything, the Black Stars barely extended themselves.
But they were put on the back foot early when Adam Larsen Kwarasey, who has replaced Richard Kingson as the new first choice for Ghana, was caught out by a speculative shot from Thami Sangweni from 25 yards on six minutes.
It triggered Ghana into action with Jordan Ayew intensifying his direct runs at the Ghana defence, and Sulley Muntari putting in plenty of effort in his free role behind Ayew.
It was Muntari who drew Ghana level five minutes after the Bafana goal. Derek Boateng switched play beautifully to the right and Samuel Inkoom did the rest, crossing well for Muntari to head beyong Brillant Khuzwayo.
Khuzwayo was called into action late on in the half but this time he passed well. First he saved a point blank effort from Jordan Ayew from a corner kick, before tipping over Emmanuel Agyemang Badu's spectacular effort over.
Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic reduced the game to a dead rubber in the second half, effecting nine substitutions from the side that started. Only John Paintsil and Kwarasey survived from the starting line-up.
Tagoe had the ball at the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside by referee Daniel Bennet, to the disbelief of Ghana.
And while the Serbian will insist little can be read into the scoreline, there were vital clues about his preferred line up for the opening game at the tournament against Botswana.
Isaac Vorsah is suspended for that. In his place, John Boye paired with John Mensah in the central defensive slot. Derek Boateng and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu were handed the central midfield role while Samuel Inkoom started on the right side of midfield with Dede Ayew on the left.
Sulley Muntari is clearly preferred to Kwadwo Asamoah, despite the later being more active at club level, while Jordan Ayew's brilliant runs and tireless running in holding the line makes him an early favourite to lead the line should Asamoah Gyan fail to recover in time from his injury.