By Tony Ubani
Ghana’s Under 23 male football team, the Black Meteors might have gone to the All Africa Games with a strategy but they would have to replan to contain the changes in the tournament draw made by the organisers after the withdrawal of Libya and Madagascar from the competition.
Days after being forced to make some changes in his team by calling up Aduana Stars’ Nurudeen Ali and Edwin Gyimah of Wa All Stars to replace the injured duo of Ben Acheampong and Malik Akowuah, Appiah is being forced to restrategise for the campaign.
After the draw was revised, Ghana have now been paired with South Africa and hosts Mozambique and begin their campaign with a tricky opener against South Africa today. Last Sunday, South Africa’s Amagluggug got their campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over the hosts and are confident of posing a threat to Ghana’s dream.
Indeed, just like everyone football lover in Ghana at the moment, the Meteors have also been hit by the premature death of Alhaji Sly Tetteh, the president of Liberty Professional F/C and reports are that Kwasi Appiah and his technical team are trying to lift the gloom in camp and get off to a good performance against South Africa.
They, at least, can take inspiration from the Black Princesses who began their campaign on a winning note with a 2-1 result against Tanzania yesterday.
The resurgence of South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, the senior football team, seems to have rubbed on the other teams, and the Amagluggug having found their rhythm, say there is no slowing down.
Moments after the win against Mozambique, Coach Shakes Masheba declared their intention of coming all out against Ghana to keep their dream on course.
“ We all know the calibre of Ghana . They have caused us some pain in the past but on Wednesday we intend to have our pound of flesh,” Coach Masheba said.
He has, however, been cautioned by Meteors’ Team Manager Sabahn Quaye not to be deluded into thinking that they can take advantage of their sorrow to override them.
In a telephone conversation, Quaye, who is also the Team Manager of Liberty Professionals said though morale in camp had been negatively affected by the bad news, the boys were not taking anything for granted.
“ We are aware of the threat South Africa pose, but we are also in Maputo on a mission and though our spirits are down, we’ll go all out when we play our first match on Wednesday,” Quaye, who was beside himself with sorrow about the death of his boss said.
He confirmed reports that the teams had not had the best of treatment due to Ghana’s indebtedness in the payment of affiliation fees at the AAG but said that had not dampen their spirits and were eager to excel as a befitting memorial for Alhaji Sly Tetteh.
Kwasi Appiah would also not confirm his starting line-up for tomorrow’s game other than saying the strongest team will be fielded.
“Everybody has been affected by the news from Ghana but the players are also aware of their mission in Maputo. We missed out on the Olympics, so we have to make up for it with a good showing here. We have only two chances at the group stage, there is therefore no time for mistakes, so the strongest team will be on parade. Thankfully, technically, everyone is ready to start,” Coach Appiah said.
How also said his team had taken note of how strongly the South Africans play in the second half and would strategise to contain them.