Black Stars accept Bafana deserved winThomas Kwenaite
Ghanaian legend and current Black Stars coach Charles Akonnor was naturally disappointed to have lost 1-0 to Bafana Bafana in their World Cup qualifying tie played at the FNB Stadium on Monday evening.
But the writing had been on the wall lately that Bafana Bafana were slowly turning the tide against the Ghanaians as they matched them pound for pound in their last official meeting in a game that ended goalless.
And on Monday against a fresh-faced, newly constructed, inexperienced and largely youthful Bafana Bafana side, Ghana finally succumbed to Hugo Broos’ spirited youngsters and in fact, it could have been embarrassing for the vaunted Black Stars.
“We started very well in the first half and tactically we were very disciplined,” said Akonnor. “It (game) went the way we wanted. But, we were not clinical enough upfront. That was the problem, But I was satisfied with the performance, with the way we played.”
But in truth, it could have been worse for the Black Stars. First Percy Tau was incorrectly ruled off-side after he had headed Nyiko Mobbie’s cross past a goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
Then the Orlando Pirates goalkeeper allowed an innocuous looking ball to slip between his legs and a lurking Evidence Makgopa tried to roll the ball over the line but incredibly missed the gilt-edged opportunity from close range.
“In the second half we somehow could not play the way we wanted to control the match. We brought in one or two substitutes which really went the other way around contrary to what we expected would happen.
“Somehow we kept dropping and it affected our game. And of course, if it was a chance, I don’t know but they (South Africa) had a chance to score and we are the losers.”
Ghana arrived with six of their top players – Daniel Amartey and Jeffrey Schlupp (both Leicester City), Andrew Yiadom and Abdul Rahman (Reading) as well as striker Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) who could have faced a 10-day quarantine in England due to Great Britain putting South Africa on the “red-zone” of countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Akonnor did not want to make the absence of the six players as an excuse for the loss, although he felt both the Confederation of African Football and FIFA should have intervened and done more to ensure African countries are not punished with the withdrawal of their players.
“The covid-19 affects everybody you know. We were aware of the situation and we had a plan “B”. I think FIFA or CAF should have taken charge of this situation because some of the European teams are playing and we are deprived of this advantage and it’s not good. But that is not an excuse. We came here and we did what we could. The bottom line is that we lost.”
Ghana with three point after two matches, will face Zimbabwe home and away in next month’s FIFA calendar dates while South Africa on four points, will tackle Ethiopia away and at home in next month’s fixtures.