It was a lackluster performance from a team whose lack of creativity and urgency was glaring.
Perhaps it was the effect of the infamously notorious heat of Ghana's Northern Region, but the Black Stars of Ghana put up a very dispirited performance in their 2018 World Cup qualifying opener against the Cranes of Uganda in Tamale on Friday.
It was an excruciatingly unexciting match, with the laid back Ugandans failing to usurp the uninspiring Stars. The result, a goalless draw, did justice to the game's arresting boredom, much to the disappointment of the thousands of fans who turned up expecting an explosive start to the campaign.
Below is Pulse Sports' assessment of the Black Stars' performance, player by player.
Razak Bramah 5/10
Might as well have grabbed a can of coke and a bag of popcorn and gotten a couch for his goal line. He was a spectator for most parts of the game, bar some occasional attacks from the Cranes.
Harrison Afful 6/10
Definitely the busier of the two full backs. He was right in the thick of action from the onset and balanced defensive and attacking duties well, shuttling between his half and the final third tenaciously.
Baba Rahman 3/10
Looked a bit jaded and out of shape, and was the visible weak link in defence as most Ugandan onslaughts were channeled through his lane. Struggled to cope.
John Boye 5/10
Quiet, assured performance. Nothing fancy. Did his job, the little things, well.
Daniel Amartey 5/10
The Leicester man played in place of Jonathan Mensah and did not give a bad account of himself. Very decent display, though not a special one.
Mubarak Wakaso 6/10
Perhaps the one player who saw most of the ball, especially in the early stages of the game. The Tamale boy must have received an adrenaline surge from playing in front of his hometown crowd. His distributions – those trademark long searching balls – as well as his commencement of attacks were constant. His contributions though, were serially aimed at dead ends. Was quiet towards the end.
Afriyie Acquah 5/10
Had a fairly uneventful game until he was stretchered off injured.
Frank Acheampong 7/10
Was menacing on the right wing with his clever, powerful runs. Caused a lot of problems and had a lot of ball-time as the Black Stars seemed to be buying into wing play to make up for a lack of creativity in midfield.
Christian Atsu 7/10
Like his teammate on the opposite wing, Atsu was all mischief and havoc, weaving his way around defenders, crossing into the box, cutting in for shots. The Newcastle man, who last week scored an absolute beauty in the English Championship, seems to be on form.
Jordan Ayew 6/10
Showed flashes of enterprising play but didn’t see enough of the ball to pass for a consistent or significant output. His tracking back was surprisingly impressive, though.
Asamoah Gyan 2/10
But for some occasions when he was seen talking to the referee or standing behind a freekick (which he wasted, more often than not) Gyan was painfully invisible. The captain had a disappointing afternoon, failing to show up to inject some spirit into what was a very drab display by the stars.
Emmanuel Agyemang Badu 5/10
Replaced Afriyie Acquah and was diligent as usual. Helped significantly with defending and was often seen pulling his weight during attacks as well.
Jeffrey Schlupp -/-
Barely had any piece of action after replacing Frank Acheampong late in the game. Would be unfair to assess.
The Black Stars have now gone three consecutive games against the Ugandans without a win.