AFCON 21: Too Early to write off Ghana Black Stars

As Ghanaians, we are obviously not happy that the Black Stars have consecutively lost one-nil to the Atlas Lions of Morocco. This time not in an international friendly match but at the finals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. The pain of Ghanaians is not just the goal but the time the goal was scored. Milovan Rajevac immediately after the goal in the 83rd minute made three quick substitutions with the hope of an equalizer at least to earn a point from the match. The puzzle many football fans are struggling to understand is the long delay by the coach in effecting the substitutions when it became crystal clear that some of the players had become mere passengers on the field. Whichever way we look at the defeat, the loss has already occurred and we cannot keep on crying over spilt milk though it is painful. There is recent history to guide us as we continue to offer our unflinching support to the Black Stars.

First let’s not forget that in 2010 when the current coach, Milovan Rajevac, led the team to the AFCON in Angola, we were defeated 3-1 in the opening match against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. However, the Black Stars won the next match against Burkina Faso one-nil and progressed through the quarter and semi-finals to the final and lost by a lone goal to the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Five years later in Equatorial Guinea, the Black Stars again lost one-nil in the opening match against the Teranga Lions of Senegal. Like the Angola episode, the team led by Avram Grant needed to beat the Desert Foxes of Algeria at all cost in their second match in order to progress from the group stage.

Courtesy Asamoah Gyan strike, the Black Stars won the match one-nil and progressed to the final but lost on penalties to the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire.

Despite yesterday’s one-nil loss to Morocco, it is too early to write off the team.

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