2019 AFCON Qualifiers: Sierra Leone suspension postpones Ghana's redemption
Things will get heated in the men’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers over the next couple of days. We are spoiled with two legged fixtures (matchday 3 and 4) for all the participants with the first leg coming to our screens as early as Wednesday, 10th of October and the final matches of the second legs finishing one week later. This means that a crucial six points is up for grabs for all teams and also at risk of slipping away.
Ghana and Sierra Leone were supposed to serve up two of the 48 AFCON Qualifiers to be played over this international break. Both ties have been cancelled by FIFA who are punishing Sierra Leone for not meeting its demands of reinstating the country’s football association officials who were relieved of their duties for alleged wrongdoing. It’s still uncertain on whether the matches will be played at a later date or if that would be the end of the road to Cameroon 2019 for the Leone Stars. What’s apparent is that the Black Stars’ redemption would have to wait.
Despite a spirited performance by the Atletico Madrid midfield maestro, Thomas Partey, Ghana suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Kenya on matchday 2 and has been left with all to do in an open group also featuring Kenya and Ethiopia, will all teams tied on 3 points. Ghanaian coach, Kwesi Appiah had recalled record goal scorer and the South Africa World Cup 2010 star player, Asamaoh Gyan back to the squad to spur the nation to a much needed qualification, especially now that the country’s football has recently been mingled in a fair share of controversies. The suspension of the two matches will perhaps give time for Mr. Appiah to digest his controversial decisions to leave out the Ayew brothers from the squad. Jordan Ayew has been slowly jelling into Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace whereas 28-year-old Andre Ayew has found life sweeter at Fenerbahce, scoring twice in seven appearances. Maybe its continued punishment for both players’ decision to leave the Ghanaian camp for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Congo, the tournament which they shockingly missed out on reaching the Russia finals after a series of shocking results against Uganda and Egypt.
The nation of Ghana would have to wait for much needed redemption of the footballing aspect of their society.
Ghana’s full squad that would have faced Sierra Leone:
Richard Ofori (Maritzburg United, SA), Lawrence Ati-Zigi (Sochaux, France) and Felix Annan (Asante Kotoko, Ghana)
Andy Yiadom (Reading, England), John Boye (FC Metz, France) Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England) Nicholas Opoku (Udinese, Italy) and Lumor Agbenyenu (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal)
Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain) Mubarak Wakaso (Alaves, Spain), Afriyie Acquah (Empoli, Italy), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Bernard Mensah (Kayserispor, Turkey), Thomas Agyapong (Hibernian, Scotland), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Nana Ampomah (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium)and Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter Milan, Italy)
Asamoah Gyan (Kayserispor, Turkey) Richmond Boakye-Yiadom (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Majeed Waris (Nantes, France) and Emmanuel Boateng (Levante, Spain)