Black Stars coach laments second-half collapse in SA

Subs didn't get it right – Akonnor

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Charles Kwabla Akonnor, coach of Ghana during the 2022 World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana.
Charles Kwabla Akonnor, coach of Ghana during the 2022 World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ghana.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Ghana coach Charles Akonnor chalked up Monday’s somewhat shock 1-0 defeat to Bafana Bafana in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at FNB Stadium to his second-half substitutes' halfhearted display.

Barring Richard Ofori’s forced substitution, Ghana made three changes before Bongokuhle Hlongwane scored the winning goal for SA in the 83rd minute. The Black Stars brought in Kwame Opoku, Samuel Owusu and Iddrisu Baba for Joel Fameyeh, Andre Ayew and Majeed Ashimeru. Injured Ofori of Orlando Pirates was replaced by Lawrence Ati-Zingi of St Gallens.

“In the second half something went wrong. Probably the people we brought in, I thought they were going to give us a different edge over the opponent, but that didn’t work well,” Akonnor said. “The Ofori situation also brought us a little bit of instability.

“I don’t want to be hard on my players but those who were given a chance didn’t really take it and that somehow affected the game and the way we wanted to play. 

“We started very well in the first half... tactically we were very disciplined. It went the way we wanted. Second half, we somehow lost the midfield then we did one or two subs and that went the other way around from what we expected.”

Ghana suffered a major blow before the clash with Bafana after seven of their European-based players were forced to return to their clubs amid Covid-19 fears. Among the seven players recalled are the five England-based players who all started Friday's opening Group G  qualifier at home to Ethiopia that they won 1-0.

Akonnor has since urged Fifa and CAF to intervene in making sure European clubs don’t block players from representing their nations in the name of Covid-19 fears.

“Of course Covid has affected everybody. Fifa or CAF should take charge of this because some of the European teams are playing [using their full-strength squads] and here we’re deprived of the advantage of having our players... it’s not good but that’s not an excuse,” said Akonnor.

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