Black Meteors ready for Algeria task
The Black Meteors kept alive their dreams of making a second successive U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appearance later this year when they held the Fennec Foxes of Algeria to a 1-1 draw at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba, Algeria.
The U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament to be hosted by Morocco,serves as qualifiersto the next Olympics Games to be held in Paris in 2024.
The Coach, Ibrahim Tanko, led Black Meteors survived a first leg scare in the 79th minute when Liberian referee,HassenCorneh,awarded Algeria a penalty.
But skipper,Danlad Ibrahim, dived to save the resultant kick from Monsef Bakrar.
Six minutes later, Sporting Lisbon forward, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, put Ghana ahead when he received a pass from Ernest Nuamah in the Meteors half and struck a sublime long drive over an advanced Algerian goalkeeper, Teddy Boulhendi, into the net.
When all pointed to a famous victory for Ghana, a second penalty was awarded against Ghanain the 90th minute when defender, Augustine Randolf, was adjudged to have handled the ball in the goal area.
This time, Chemseddine Bekkouche delivered to share the spoils ahead of the second leg scheduled for tomorrow.
Coach, Ibrahim Tanko, stated that the tie was far from over and that they would be ready for a fight from the Algerians in Kumasi.
Speaking after the game, he lamented over the chances they missed and said the technical team would have to work on the psyche of the players ahead of the return leg.
“The contest is now open; it’s anyone’s game. We know how tricky these Algerians can be, and we are going back to straighten the rough edges and make sure we are not surprised at home like we did to them in 2019.”
On his part, NoureddineOuld Ali of Algeria noted after the game that they probably respected the Ghanaian side too much.
“In the first half we allowed them to dictate the pace of the game. When they played low or even very low block, we failed to change our play. We caught up in the second half and even allowed ourselves the luxury of missing a penalty.”
Ould Ali believes they have a chance to make it to the AFCON, and they are coming to Ghana to make sure they execute a qualification plan.
The two teams have arrived in Kumasi ahead of the return leg at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium tomorrow to determine who books a ticket to the U-23 AFCON, which take place from June 24 to July 8, 2023.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY