Pim Verbeek has said that the games between Ghana and Serbia are the Socceroos best chance to get points and move into the round of 16. I must say his confidence about qualifying to the next stage has given me some hope that we can do it.
I spoke to my Ghana football correspondent ESPN’s Gary Al Smith and Serbian football writer Nikola Burazer from the World Cup Blog.org site and asked them about what they thought of Ghana’s and Serbia’s provincial squad. This how it went down, Pim’s not the only one playing mind games.
Gary Al Smith: Honestly, Con....no, the Ghana squad the coach named last Friday bothers many people, me included. It’s a collection of injured and inconsistent players. Yes, Essien is world class but what use is he injured? Mensah cannot play three straight games without back issues at Sunderland...
AFS: Same with the Socceroos squad, Kewell got injured again, he will not be anywhere near fit. So what bothers you about the Ghana squad?
GAS: Stephen Appiah only played 45 minutes yesterday for Bologna for the first time in TWO YEARS! Ghana's joint top scorer anywhere in the world plays in Egypt. His name's Eric Bekoe and he's scored 13 goals. Yet, he has been miraculously omitted from the 30 man list.
AFS: I saw a story on Abide Pele’s three sons on an Aussie football show called the World Game on SBS what do you think about them?
GAS: Abedi Pele's sons: Andre (who won the u-20 world cup) is a shoo in into the team cos he's earned it. Rahim (plays for Zamalek in Egypt) has no bizness in the team, but is there. The last is Jordan, not yet ripe for the senior team at all. We got about two Essiens there. And Asamoah is very good, we'll see how he can handle the big stage.
What about Serbia?
AFS: Hey Nikola are you happy with Serbian squad that was chosen?
NB: I'm actually pretty satisfied with the squad, it's consisted of players that have got us so far in the qualifiers plus some youngsters I was actually eager to see. I would've changed a couple of things, but the squad looks fine in general.
AFS: You just know the Germans are going to be hard to beat and Serbia seem the inform team with not much talk about injuries to key players
NB: About the injuries, it looked like we're having an injury epidemic after the injuries to Janković, Dragutinović and Lazović, but I guess we're quite fine when compared with most of our rivals. Ghana will probably be without Essien and Mensah, Germany without Adler and Rolfes, and I heard that Cahill and Kewell (two of your best players, right?) might also be unfit.
About the form, well, I guess it is better than I thought it will be, most of our starting 11 are playing well in the last few weeks and look in good shape before the tournament.
So there is some inside information on Ghana and Serbia perhaps I should have let them both know I was recording the conversation. But this is war friends and I have already put on the paint and uniform and I’m not taking it off till the Socceroos get kicked out. No soap at my house for two months and that could be a problem as just thinking of Germany Ghana and Serbia is giving me the runs.