Former African Footballer of the Year Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew hailed match winner Asamoah Gyan after Ghana dumped hosts Angola out of the
Africa Cup of Nations in Luanda on Sunday with a 1-0 victory.
“I said before the match that if striker Asamoah Gyan was in good shape Ghana would win,” said the man who collected a Nations Cup winners medal with Ghana as a teenager in Libya 28 years ago.
‘Pele’, voted the best footballer in Africa for three consecutive years from 1991, was speaking on the SuperSport ‘Ola Angola’ show.
Gyan, scorer of the only goal 16 minutes into the first half of a match watched by a sell-out 50,000 crowd, limped off early in the second half at November 11 Stadium.
‘Pele’ also lauded ‘Black Stars’ coach Milovan Rajevac, who has taken the four-time champions into the semi-finals despite lacking six injured first-choices, including Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien.
Defenders John Paintsil and John Mensah and midfielders Stephen Appiah, Laryea Kingston and Anthony Annan have been hit by injuries while indiscipline ruled out Sulley Muntari.
“Many coaches would complain about their bad luck, but Milovan opted for youth, including 10 players aged under 21, and his policy has paid rich dividends.
“He and his fellow coaches did their homework well. They knew Angola striker Flavio Amado was a major aerial threat so they prevented the home team from making too many crosses.
“Ghana allowed Angola plenty of possession until they crossed the centre circle, then closed them down quickly with biting tackles and blocked the ball going wide.
“Milovan has a young team who are willing to learn, play a compact game and can counterattack swiftly and dangerously. The team fought all the way and now it is mission accomplished,” said ‘Pele’.