ONE OF Ghana's most renowned footballers, Anthony Baffoe, has lamented the absence of Michael Essien and Sulley Ali Muntari in the CAN 2006 squad of the Black Stars.
Baffour, a former stalwart defender of the Stars told Guide Sports, in an exclusive interview that, he was disturbed about injuries, which ruled the noted players out of the African Nations Cup, this year.
However, he indicated that, now is the hour for the unsung players, who have stepped into the shoes of Essien and Muntari, to make their marks in the continent.
“It's a good chance for the benchwarmers. There are players, who say they are better than this, or that player. Therefore, it's a good chance for them to prove that the coach can count on them. That's how soccer is!”, Tony stressed. Tony commended the unity and determination, which exist in the Stars' camp, not forgetting that of the technical bench, headed by Coach Ratomir Dujkovic. When queried what measures he would have set in place, ahead of the tourney, if he were to be in the shoes of the Stars' head coach, Tony did not mince words. “I'm definitely not in the shoes of the coach. You see, in soccer, you always have to bear in mind that, players are bound to be injured. You can't always bank your hopes on your dream selection. Tomorrow, someone could be injured, and you would have to replace him.
That's why we've got more than eleven players in the team. And that's soccer, that's life!
Commenting on Ghana's maiden appearance in the World Cup finals, he stated: “It's a very historic moment for Ghana, and since Ghana is rated high in Africa, it behoves the Stars to perform marvellous feats, which would leave indelible marks in the world of soccer.”
According to Tony Baffoe, who is now a famous showbiz personality in Germany, Africa needs to make marks in Germany.
A number of soccer analysts maintain Ghana is placed in a tough group, but Tony is warily buoyant about the nation's chances, indicating that, this is an era for the Stars to out-class their opponents.
“Ghana's qualification for the World Cup finals had been my dream, during my hey-day, and so, now that the Stars have made it, I'm very proud of their success story. I would be one of their staunch supporters, when the world tourney kicks off.
Tony Baffoe, a teammate of Ghana's greatest all-time lethal marksman, Anthony Yeboah, as well as Abedi Pele, three times Africa's footballer of the year, has teed off with promotions for the Stars on his TV shows, in Germany. The former Stars' gritty defender, has opened his doors to Ghana, ahead of its World Cup preparations, saying, “I'm ready to offer any help to Ghana.” Incidentally, Tony Baffoe has been roped into the trio of Tony Yeboah, Marcel Desailly, as well as Abedi, who have been touted to help champion the cause of Ghana's aspirations of dazzling exploits during the course of the world tourney.