Akonnor blames Stars defeat to Bafana Bafana on poor changes

Black Stars coach, C.K Akonnorpointed to poor substitutions for his side’s 1-0 loss to South Africa on Monday at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg in the second round of games for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

With the game headed for a stalemate, Akonnor introduced midfield combatant Baba Iddrisu, winger Samuel Owusuand striker Kwame Opoku for MajeedAshimeru, Andre Ayew and Joel Fameyeh whilst an injury forced goalkeeper Richard Ofori off for St.Gallen’s Lawrence Ati-Zigi.

But on hindsight Akonnor admitted his substitutions may have shifted the balance of the game, handing the Bafana Bafana a late win.

The ex-Stars captain explained that while he was impressed with the first-half display, his second half changes did not have the needed impact.

“We started very well in the first half; tactically we were disciplined. It went the way we wanted. But we were not clinical upfront, that’s the problem. I was, however, satisfied with the way we played in terms of controlling the game.”

“In the second half, we somehow lost the midfield in terms of how we wanted to play because we believed that we could win the game. We did one or two substitutions, which really went the other way round and we kept dropping and dropping.”

The Stars coach was also adamant that the loss of England based quintet Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey,Baba Rahman, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andy Yiadom and French side, Rennes young prodigy,KamaldeenSulemana due to Covid-19 restrictions was a key factor for the defeat.

Despite this, Akonnor insisted their absence was felt and expressed dissatisfaction with CAF and FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“Covid-19 affects everybody. We were aware of the situation and we had a plan B,” he said.

“FIFA or CAF should’ve taken charge of the situation because some European teams are playing and we were deprived of this advantage and it’s not good. But that is not an excuse,” Akonnor intimated.

The loss sent South Africa to the summit of the group on four points with Ghana trailing behind on three points with only group winners advancing to the play-off stage.

The Stars will resume the qualifierson October 9 with a doubleheader against Zimbabwe at home before emplaning to Harare for the return leg on October 12.

BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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