Sports News of Thursday, 5 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Ghana coach Avram Grant is keeping his captain, Asamoah Gyan, as his trump card to play for a win in this evening’s crucial semi-final encounter with Equatorial Guinea at the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Word had been rife since last Monday that the Stars captain was likely to miss the semi-finals as he had failed to recover from an injury he sustained in the quarter-final game against Guinea last Sunday; but yesterday, assistant coach Maxwell Konadu told the media that “he had not been ruled out yet, as the team had received the results of scan, but we prefer to keep it confident.”
“Gyan is not just the captain, but an important player to the team and in the unlikely event that he is unable to make it against Equatorial Guinea we will manage the situation,” Konadu stressed.
With hordes of Equatorial Guinea journalists at the pre-match media briefing, many considered Konadu’s response as diplomatic and one that would leave the Nzalang Nacionales or National Thunder in limbo over how to plan tactically for the game.
In the event that Gyan is unable to make it, the assistant coach believes deputy captain, Andre Dede Ayew was capable of leading the team, as he did in 2009 when he led the Under-20 side, the Black Satellites, to be World Championships.
“Dede Ayew is capable just like many other people who from time to time are called to lead the team. Our focus is to go out there to win and we are preparing towards that,” Konadu said; also admitting that the team was eager to break the jinx of not being able to go past this stage for three times in the past five semi-final matches they have played at the AFCON.
“We are worried that it happened in the past and determined not to experience it again. Things have been different and we are confident of victory. This is not to say that we will take it for granted though. We will show respect to Equatorial Guinea because, like us, they have worked hard to reach here,” the assistant coach, himself a former striker of the team, said.