Posted On Monday, 17th June 2013
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah says he never lost hope of reclaiming the summit on Group D of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers despite playing catch-up on previous leaders Zambia.
The Black Stars were on top of the qualifying group before a bizarre decision by FIFA to award the Chipolopolo three free points over Sudan even though the Nile Crocodile had won the clash between the two sides 2-0.
FIFA gave Zambian the boardroom points accusing Sudan of fielding an ineligible player even though the Zambians did not file the protest within the stipulated time.
However, God served his own justice on Saturday when Sudan rallied to hold Zambia to a 1-1 draw which gave Ghana the advantage.
Following their 2-0 win over Lesotho in Maseru on Sunday, the Black Stars are back in first place and one point ahead of Zambia.
It was back in June of last year when the Black Stars led the group after the opening matches but ceded their lead to Zambia in the subsequent matches.
However, the outcome of the penultimate fixtures has changed the guard at the top with Ghana, leap-frogging the Chipolopolo’s.
After watching John Boye and captain Asamoah Gyan score against Lesotho to lead the group, Appiah says going on top might have come too soon though he always expected it.
“I always believed that we would be on top before we end the group but maybe it’s come so early,” the Black Stars coach said in a post game interview.
“Zambia were leading and unfortunately for them, they drew yesterday [Saturday] and we had to take advantage of coming to the top.”
The victory over Lesotho was Ghana’s second away victory in ten days – after defeating Sudan 3-1 last Friday – to keep alive hopes of reaching the third-round stage of qualifying and a third consecutive World Cup appearance.