Assessment: Ghana chaos
Ghana had an eventful tournament on and off the pitch, and ESPNFC blogger Fiifi Anaman discusses a chaotic campaign.
One sentence, World Cup recap
Disgraceful off-the-pitch drama overshadowed the hard work on the pitch, ruining what could have been a magical campaign.
All team assessments
Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast | Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Asamoah Gyan. The 28-year-old Ghana captain was immense, finishing with two goals in three matches. It means he is Ghana's all-time top scorer with 41 goals, and the strike against Portugal was his sixth at a World Cup -- making him Africa's all-time top scorer in the tournament. Gyan showed maturity through his inspiring displays, and he became the first African to score in three World Cups. In the process, he impressively dispelled the myth that plying his trade in the relatively unknown United Arab Emirates -- where he has scored more than 100 goals in three seasons -- means he cannot compete at the highest level.
- Anaman: Ghana's utter disarray
Andre Ayew's equaliser against Germany -- what a header that was. The eruption of joy the goal caused back in Ghana was telling. His goal embodied the Black Stars' defiance against the three-time world champions. Ghana had become notorious for crossing endlessly without a meaningful end result, and so when the cross from right back Harrison Afful went in, it would have been hard to argue that a single Ghanaian expected something of it.
Incredibly, the Marseille winger rose to the occasion and stunned Joachim Low's side. Ayew's exceptional leap above Per Mertesacker was breathtaking and he looked a player possessed by the obsession to go beyond himself. That goal inspired a lot of belief. Ghanaians felt anything was possible at that point.
Normally, this would be something that happened on the pitch. But no, not for this Ghana team. Chaotic issues of player revolt, dissatisfaction and insubordination rocked the team's camp. The players' public agitation for their $100,000 appearance fees -- laced with threats of training and traveling boycotts -- led to Ghana President John Mahama having to step in with a telephone call to team captain Gyan to calm the team down. What followed saw Ghana become a laughingstock the world over as the government stocked a chartered flight with close to $3.5 million in physical cash from Accra en route to Brazil to save the situation.
The morning after the money (accompanied by a huge convoy to the team hotel in Brasilia in the full glare of the Brazilian media) arrived, two players; Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng, were thrown out of the team's camp for physical assault and insubordination, respectively. The team head back home with a single point and a baggage of endless drama in the wake of one of the worst tournament campaigns in their history.
Most Ghanaians have subjected coach Kwesi Appiah to endless criticism for committing tactical errors, chief among them the deployment of Juventus' Kwadwo Asamoah at left back. While it will be easy to pick on the coach, they were undone by some small details. Players missing clear-cut chances, some failing to make the right decisions in attacking and others committing unpardonable blunders all contributed to their downfall.
Overall, Ghana didn't play badly. The performances on the pitch were far from the debacle off it. Many chances were created in all three games, and the team possessed and attacked well, too. What was missing was adequate cutting edge in attack as well as consistent solidity and focus at the other end. Meanwhile, there are a lot of things wrong with the current set-up, and sadly, it transcends the traditionally scrutinised happenings on the pitch and on the technical bench.