Black Stars, a team in crisis

Black Stars, a team in crisis

GFA President, Kurt Okraku and sacked Black Stars coach, Chris Hughton have been criticised in several quarters for the Stars woeful performance

 Against Egypt in the second game, the script was similar to what was enacted against Gabon in the previous edition. This time, the Black Stars aided the Pharaohs to stay relevant in the tournament after unpar­donable errors cancelled out Kudus Mohammed’s effort.

That put us in a very difficult situation; needing to beat a less fancied Mozambi­quan Mambas.

Once again, the gods of football listened to our play­ers and awarded the Black Stars two penalties which were expertly converted by Jordan Ayew.

But late in the game, the new Black Stars’ spirit of disappointment was invoked and the goals started raining for the Mambas who bit with precision to render the Black Stars numbed and trauma­tised.

When everything pointed to a win at last, second-half substitute and skipper, Andre Ayew accidentally handled the ball in the goal area, an incident the match referee with an eagle eye for such infringements, noted very fast and pointed to the spot.

The resultant kick provid­ed a way back into the game for the Mambas who pressed further, perchance knowing that these were not the cali­bre of Ghanaian players their great grandfathers feared.

Indeed, the efforts were rewarded by a disorganised Ghana goalkeeper, Richard Ofori, whose decision can best be explained by himself.

From a resultant corner kick, Atletico Madrid de­fender, Renildo headed an important equalizer to also earn their second point from the tournament as they head home as warriors, having drawn with African warriors on paper, Egypt and Ghana.

The latest displeasure and heartbreak have hit Ghana­ian fans so hard and could make the fans return to the stands a very tough decision to take.

Considering what the players put up on the field of play, sincerely, it will be dif­ficult to insinuate they were not committed to the team’s course.

From the coaches, players, administrators and whoever played a role, the ambi­tion from the day one has been to win the trophy to return to the AFCON honours list.

I have not come across a coach and set of players that would be prepared for a competition of such magnitude and would intentionally blow that opportunity. It is the reason Jordan Ayew’s claim that the team was fully com­mitted is acceptable.

Maybe, what we lacked was the qual­ity to drive the team forward no matter the size of the opposition to grind out the result.

In the game against Cape Verde, It was obvious the team struggled as the three departments – defence, midfield and attack. We had a defence that was always stretched; a midfield that failed to create chances for the attackers who could not record enough touches in the opposi­tion goal area.

Football is team work so it is usually not proper to single out a particular player for praise but it is also al­most impossible not to write about the impact of Kudus Mohammed on the second game.

 By Andrew Nortey

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