National team manager Otto Addo will participate in his second World Cup with Ghana. First, as a player in 2006, and now as a head coach. And he will guide the youngest team in the Qatar 2022 tournament through the toughest group.
After Ghana failed to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time in African Cup of Nations’ history, Addo became the interim head coach. The objective at hand is to qualify for the World Cup against rival Nigeria in the Jollof Derby. The Black Stars win 1-1 on away goals and as a result, Ghana’s FA removes the interim tag from Addo’s title. The 47-year-old has already announced he will step down from the position after the competition. Stakes are high for the former Ghana international, and he wants to make Black Stars’ supporters proud for many reasons.
Addo said this to German newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten:
“…for the Ghanaians, this World Cup is also an added bonus, because the country is not a big player internationally, politically and economically. Africa is generally underrepresented as a continent, so the World Cup is more than just a sporting event. For all the problems that exist in the country, every victory brings more peace and stability.”
Addo is a native German, born in Hamburg to Ghanaian immigrants. He played as a winger for six teams in his 16-year career, most notably Borussia Dortmund. As someone who switched nationalities himself, he’s been able to convince Inaki Williams and Tariq Lamptey to join the Black Stars. They have the potential to be key players in the team, joining Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus and Arsenal’s Thomas Partey.
During the year, Addo has used several lineups to figure out the best formation and tactical positioning for his squad. It seems like the 4-2-3-1 is his preference, with the 4-3-3 being second. In both setups, Kudus is the X-Factor. He is either playing higher up the field as a number 10 or linking play between the midfield and attack.
Partey enters the World Cup in fine form. He is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League in the young 2022/23 campaign. After midfielder Baba Iddrisu missed a call-up due to injury, more will be asked of Partey to lead middle of the field.
The biggest burden is on Williams, as he must fill the void left by Asamoah Gyan. The newly UEFA-licensed coach is Africa’s all-time leading scorer at the World Cup with six and Ghana’s greatest goal scorer. Williams is mostly known for his durability as he is La Liga’s record holder for most consecutive games played. For the Black Stars to advance out of Group H, Williams must be clinical as a finisher.
Group of Death
Unfortunately, Ghana will be without their starting goalkeeper, Joe Wollacott, after having surgery on his finger. The Charlton Athletic number one still travelled with the team for moral support. Lawrence Ati-Zigi will take his place between the sticks. He will have a strong backline led by Southampton center-back Mohammed Salisu to lean on.
Two of their three group stage matches will involve a replay of a previous encounters at the globe’s biggest stage. In their first match, they face Portugal who beat them 2-1 in the 2014 World Cup. Their last match will be against Uruguay who controversially beat Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal. South Korea will also be a tricky test. Their star forward Son Heung-min has already scored five goals for his nation in 2022.
Ghana is not expected to advance out of the group stage. However, they have the talent and the leadership under Addo to potentially cause an upset or two.