2015 was yet another eventful year for Ghana sports and our Yen sports desk brings you a review of the major football events. We highlight on the major events which the various national teams were involved in.
AFCON 2015: The year started with the 30th edition of Africa’s star competition which was initially billed for Morocco, but later played in Equatorial Guinea. Ghanaians deemed it a must win tournament to compensate for the near misses that had characterized the Black Stars campaign and an abysmal appearance at the last major tournament, Brazil 2014 World Cup.
There was little interest in the team’s campaign due to a self inflicted animosity of the public towards them from the Brazil disaster which made people boycott most matches. The only alibi was the six weeks old appointment of Israeli trainer, Avram Grant which drew some attention.
Ghana vrs Senegal in the opening group game saw the Black Stars without their captain Asamoah Gyan lose 2-1. The plot to win back public interest was lost. Ghana vrs Algeria, and Gyan did the trick! After mildly recovering from malaria, the Black Stars captain scored a dramatic 89th minute goal to win the game for Ghana, 1-0. Ghanaians quickly forgave the team and showed some love with appetites whetted for the Ghana vrs South Africa. Ghana won 2-1 against the Bafana Bafana team.
Soon it was time to face the dreaded Sylli national which saw an emphatic 3-0 win over Guinea in the quarter finals.
The smooth drive of the team with the victory got the Guinea goal keeper, Naby Yattara nuts on the Stars skipper with just a minute to the close of the game. The cruel attack on Gyan made him miss out the semi-final with the hosts.
Ghana vrs Equitorial Guinea and at 3-0 down, the home fans pelted the Ghana team and supporters with bottles. The supporters were forced to abandon their seats and come just behind one of the goal posts to escape the objects being thrown at them. The match resumed after about a half-an- hour break.
Then came the finals, Ghana vrs Ivory Coast which went into penalty shootout after 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time. After the Ivorians had missed their first two penalties, it was assumed Ghana was on its way to win a title after three decades of trying.
However, Ghana got its foot off the accelerator, and made another opportunity slip when both Afriyie Acquah and Frank Acheampong missed their penalties. 17 kicks in all and looked like the 1992 final in Senegal. The Elephants won for a second time in a 9-8 penalty shootout.
Local Black Stars: The CHAN team let many Ghanaian hearts down too with a poor show in the COSAFA Cup in May which sparked a lot of criticism from the fans.
The U20s: The Men’s under-20 team, the Black Satellites, went into the U 20 World Cup in New Zealand as bronze medalists at the Africa Youth Championships in Senegal.
Former skipper, Stephen Appiah hanged his boots in a well-attended send-off game in Accra which saw the presence of President John Mahama and former Presidents JJ Rawlings and JA Kuffour.
ANDRE Bowed To YAYA TOURE: Ivory Coast’s midfielder Yaya Toure saw off competition from Andre Ayew to become the only third player, after Nigerians Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, to receive the BBC African Footballer of the Year award twice.
Former Ghana legends, Jones Attuquayefio and CK Gyamfi passed on to glory. Jones led Hearts to its first ever African conquest and CK led Ghana to three of the four African Cup titles.
AFCON & WORLD CUP: Ghana for now, has qualified for the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, after making some good progress in qualification for the AFCON too and it is the expectation of all that Gyan and his charges will see the team through.