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08.03.2009 Football News

Ghana: Floppers to Favourites

The local Black Stars were struggling for breathe after two match days on a back of two successive draws against Zimbabwe and Libya.Ghanasoccernet has more on the team's resurgence at the African Nations Championship in Ivory Coast.

A little bit of tinkering with the team by head coach Milovan Rajevac paid dividends and voila, the team's fading hopes were reversed.   

It was anticipated that the team will hit a sticky patch in Ivory Coast due to the evolving nature of the team.   

In the Beginning
Of the 11 players that began the campaign under Frenchman Claude Le Roy in Tamale, only four have survived or better still eligible to play- a statistic that is simply awful.  

Now left-back Harrison Afful, midfielders Edmund Owusu-Ansah, Jordan Opoku and Agyemang-Badu have been able to preserve their form.   

The original starting backline has seen John Boye move to Ligue 1 side Rennes and David Addy who starred on the left joined Randers FC in Denmark.   

Kessben FC's Baba Iddi lost his position as left winger because of a dip in form likewise his opposite partner Ekow Benson of Tema Youth on the right.   

Three attackers joined the exodus train- Eric Bekoe moved to Egypt; Dominic Adiyiah went to Norway and Emmanuel Osei Banahene to Israel.      

Lest I forget, Tawrick Jibril was a super sub for the team as at that time.  

So Le Roy terminated his relationship as coach of Ghana after victories over Niger and Togo.

Au revoir monsieur.  
The take-over:  
It was always going to be difficult for his successor with the statement of account left behind.

Ghana's best performers in the league were hungrier for greener pastures.   Serbian Milovan Rajevac was outdoored in August last year and he admitted, refining talents was dear to his heart.   

After a long break, there came rivals Nigeria to scale- over.

The first leg was frightened and a spirited comeback ensured the team survived and managed a 3-2 win at the Ohene Djan Stadium.   

The local Black Stars had faint hopes of progressing but a well hatched up tactics and overhauling the set-up forced a goalless draw in Nigeria and an unbudgeted qualification was recorded.   

Rajevac knew luck smacked on him so he rang changes and the likes of Philemon McCarthy, Godwin Osei Bonsu, Rahim Ayew and Charles Taylor were introduced. 

Only a one-week camping exercise was enough for to trim the rough edges and ready to gun down opponents at the CHAN  

The revelations:
Indisputably, Ibrahim"Rahim" Ayew, son of football legend Abedi Pele has shone in this competition and really one for the future.

The 21-year-old was battling for attention and recognition playing for local side Eleven Wise which got promoted this term to the Ghana League.   

His two goals in the Group opener against Zimbabwe averted defeat in the 2-2 after going down 2-0. His performance has since not plummeted.  

Rahim power, pace and irrepressible confidence has earned him a call-up into the senior team for this month's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Benin.  

Thanks Be to CHAN.   Charles Taylor's exploits in Ghana football were forgotten after a career threatening knee injury nearly retired him.   

But this mercurial talent has been resuscitated and Taylor should make no turning back.

A senior team call-up to reward his performance will be cherished by the former Asante Kotoko and Great Olympics talisman.  

The Hero:
Ghana's participation in the CHAN drew a lot of public criticism after CAF handed the Football Association reprieve and was admitted late.   

This was because an FA official had negligently failed to fill and submit forms admitting interested countries to partake in the maiden edition of this tournament.

There were back and forth rebuttals denying their negligence but thanks to the one who ensured Ghana's participation in the competition.

He is a hero.   
Playing DR Congo again on Sunday would be somewhat difficult especially after last Sunday's 3-0 win in Bouake.  

The real hero will be who aids Ghana to lift the trophy.

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