THE BENIN National Football team, The Squirrels, last Saturday beat their United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterparts by a lone goal on the first day of the Zenith four-nation soccer tournament at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.
The only goal of the game was scored by striker Abou Maiga, who was inside UAE's eighteen box, where he received a long rang pass from Alain Gaspoz from the right flank. With his powerful header, the ball hit UAE goalkeeper Waleed Sahim's hands and surprisingly went into the net at the stroke of the first half for the opener.
The UAE team, which could not get five of their invited professional players, came to Ghana with the reputation of Asian soccer, after the Stars team was dominated by a 5-0 score by Saudi Arabia in London this year, but had to be tumbled. It was not because the team lacked anything technically or tactically, but the squad failed to impress.
The Squirrels of Benin, who threatened to withdraw if the Ghana Football Association (GFA) continues with the tournament's earlier parings that pitched them with Togo, had their chances wasted by their Sweden-based striker Razak Omotoyossi and Khaled Adenon of Asec of Abidjan in the second half.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE SPORTS just after the match, the Benin Coach, Wabi Gomez, who would be an assistant to Philip Troussier in Ghana 2008, attributed the numerous scoring begging chances wasted by his squad to tiredness as the boys had less time to rest.
The Benin team arrived in Ghana a day to the game.
“This tournament is very important because it gives the team a chance to prepare well for Ghana 2008 and playing the Black Stars or Togo would also enhance the performance of our squad,” he indicated.
By Pierre Toto