Former Black Stars player, Richard Naawu, is confident Ghana’s current Black Stars led by Coach C.K Akonnor can end the nation’s over 35 years trophy drought at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
According to the former forward, though they were relatively more talented during their playing days, the current squad, with determination and hard work, can win the trophy for Ghana.
“It takes more than talent to win trophies these days so I believe the current team with dint of hard work, determination and luck on their side, could win the trophy,” he told the Times Sports in an interview on Tuesday.
“I have watched them play the last couple of qualifiers and they have a lot of quality but could improve going forward in order to win the ultimate,” he stressed.
He said, there were other talents across Europe and other parts of the world that could be scouted into the national team to make them formidable ahead of the Nations Cup.
He expressed confidence in Coach C.K Akonnor, stating that, he has the experience and technical know-how to lead the team to the ‘promised’ land.
“I speak with him occasionally and he is very passionate about the Black Stars and winning the AFCON would be such a huge delight to him,” he stated.
He urged the players to be passionate about playing for Ghana and focus less on financial benefits in order to win the trophy.
“We played our hearts out for the country but now it seems, money comes first for players instead of representing the country and raising the flag of the nation,” he stated.
“That has also contributed to our inability to win the trophy in a long time so I would plead with players to be passionate about playing for Ghana for money to come as bonus,” he stressed.
He urged the public not to be quick at criticizing players because it could affect their confidence and possibly have lasting effects on their careers.
“Players have bad days at times and must not be criticized in such situations. They must rather be encouraged to do better in subsequent matches,” he cautioned.
Naawu played in the historic Senegal 1992 AFCON finals between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana which the latter painfully lost 11-10 to the winners.
His scored his penalty in the lengthy penalty encounter after the game ended goalless.
He played alongside Abebi Pele, Tony Yeboah, Kwesi Appiah, Anthony Baffour, Mohammed Gargo as well as Frimpong Manso and Yaw Preko.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE