Annan’s gradualist approach

16 years ago

Anthony Annan may be one of the young members in the Black Stars team who has grown from being a bit-part player to become a mainstay for the team.

The 21 year-old midfielder has already acquired a taste for the big match battles since being thrown into the team in March 2007 when he played in the absence of Michael Essien in a friendly against Brazil at the Rasunda Stadium in Stockholm.

Even in defeat to Brazil, it was easy to see why the midfielder earned a call up as he put himself in the shop window.

However, come January 2008, Anthony Annan really put in much work when he played for Ghana in the African Nations Cup hosted on home soil.

Despite earning rave reviews after a sterling performance against Nigeria, in a quarter-final clash that saw the 5 ft 9 inches man play out Nigeria’s Mikel Obi, Annan believes he is some miles away from reaching the enviable heights of established players like Michael Essien.

“I am a young guy coming and I have a lot to learn,” he says as he looks back to the days at the 2008 Nations Cup.

“I don’t have to deceive myself that I have arrived because of my performance in the Cup of Nations.

“I’ve got a lot to learn to improve on my game and that is exactly what I intend doing. I have to remain focused because that is the only way I can achieve my objective.”

Breaking into the Ghana team as a regular hasn’t been an easy job for Anthony Annan. His display might have surprised a lot of people when he played his debut Nations Cup game after coming on against Morocco in the group stages following the suspension of Laryea Kingston.

But a relaxed Annan still on his learning curve says he was not surprised as he had a responsibility to fulfil after earning a place in the 23-man squad selected by Ghana for the tournament.

“I wasn’t surprised by my performance because I was ready for the Cup of Nations.

“I had enough confidence in myself and once I was part of the 23 players, I had to do well for the team and the nation.

“As a player, you should always have it at the back of your mind that you have to do well for the team whether you start or you come from the bench.

“It was a responsibility I had to fulfill as a member of the team and I am glad I did it well.”

However, Annan was quick to chip in that: “I am still on learning curve,” he adds.

To date, Annan has had an excellent year with the Black Stars as he helps Ghana attempt to secure a second successive World Cup place.

And he has enough confidence his colleagues to make it to the 2010 World Cup finals to be hosted by South Africa, the first on the African continent with the qualifiers having started.

“We have a very good team and all the players are willing to achieve something with the national team.

“I am confident that if we maintain the same attitude, we will qualify for the 2010 World Cup.”