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Sun, Jun

Needless controversy in the midst of hope

Ghana’s Black Stars last Sunday started their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on a bright note after posting a 5-0 victory over Ethiopia at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

A 5-0 thumping of the East Africans may not be a big deal for Ghanaians who have seen the team hold their own against sides with bigger clout in football. but the manner in which the victory was executed provided renewed hope for Ghanaians, particularly with an indigenous coach back in charge.

During his first stint with the team, Coach Appiah built a side with a high scoring rate, one that saw them rip apart the dreaded Pharaohs of Egypt 6-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Kumasi four years ago. Starting his second stint on a high scoring note was music to the ears of Ghanaians, as it was achieved without some key players who were dropped in favour of little-known debutants that had previously been overlooked by former Black Stars coach, Avram Grant.

Last Sunday’s win had a lot of positives for Appiah to build on. Despite a heavy downpour that afternoon, the match witnessed an impressive turnout by fans in Kumasi who defied the rains to throw their weight behind the team. It was an important pointer of good things to come as these same fans had previously turned their backs on the Stars in disapproval of their poor performance and attitude of the players.The players played with passion and the manner in which they achieved victory was a good way to win back the love of Ghanaians, having openly showed a positive attitude and a willingness to accept a 50

The players played with passion and the manner in which they achieved victory was a good way to win back the love of Ghanaians, having openly showed a positive attitude and a willingness to accept a 50 percent slash in their winning bonus.

One of the significant positives was Appiah’s readiness to bite the bullet by ‘benching’ more experienced players such as Jordan Ayew, Abdul Majeed Waris, Afriyie Acquah, and Frank Acheampong while handing starts to promising youngsters such as Lumor Agbenyenu, Ebenezer Ofori, Thomas Agyepong and Raphael Dwamena.Remarkably, the debutants repaid Appiah’s faith in them with their impressive performance, as Agyepong provided two assists, Dwamena scored a brace, with Ofori making a strong case with an outstanding goal that shared the glory with his captain’s 50th international goal.

Remarkably, the debutants repaid Appiah’s faith in them with their impressive performance, as Agyepong provided two assists, Dwamena scored a brace, with Ofori making a strong case with an outstanding goal that shared the glory with his captain’s 50th international goal.The performance of these debutants and the presence of other young and hungry home-based stars waiting for their turn should create an atmosphere for competition for positions, which will give Appiah a lot of options to choose from and make the team stronger in the long run.

The performance of these debutants and the presence of other young and hungry home-based stars waiting for their turn should create an atmosphere for competition for positions, which will give Appiah a lot of options to choose from and make the team stronger in the long run.However, the controversy that surrounded Gyan’s substitution was avoidable as it sadly overshadowed a deserved ovation for scoring 50 international goals. His landmark achievement was worth celebrating but the decision by the team handlers to allow the striker to wear a customised captain’s armband in clear violation of FIFA regulations, only suggested that the authorities were not paying attention to detail and thus ruined an otherwise momentous occasion with a needless gaffe.

However, the controversy that surrounded Gyan’s substitution was avoidable as it sadly overshadowed a deserved ovation for scoring 50 international goals. His landmark achievement was worth celebrating but the decision by the team handlers to allow the striker to wear a customised captain’s armband in clear violation of FIFA regulations, only suggested that the authorities were not paying attention to detail and thus ruined an otherwise momentous occasion with a needless gaffe.It is no secret that the captain’s armband is a big deal in the Black Stars, with Coach Appiah himself a living witness to how it created division in the national team over three decades ago and ruined the chances of one of the finest squads assembled at the 1992 Nations Cup in Senegal.

It is no secret that the captain’s armband is a big deal in the Black Stars, with Coach Appiah himself a living witness to how it created division in the national team over three decades ago and ruined the chances of one of the finest squads assembled at the 1992 Nations Cup in Senegal.While they present a united front, there is disquiet about battle over leadership of the team between Gyan and his assistant, Andre Ayew, and anything – perceived or real – which might deepen the suspicion could further destabilise the team and undermine Appiah’s team-building efforts.

While they present a united front, there is disquiet about battle over leadership of the team between Gyan and his assistant, Andre Ayew, and anything – perceived or real – which might deepen the suspicion could further destabilise the team and undermine Appiah’s team-building efforts.It is about time the FA and Appiah confront the issue about the team’s leadership head-on and put the issue to rest once and for all for the good of the team.

It is about time the FA and Appiah confront the issue about the team’s leadership head-on and put the issue to rest once and for all for the good of the team.