The Black Stars of Ghana yesterday failed to seal qualification to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon when a late header from Sudanese striker Mohamed Abdul Rahman gave the host a 1-0 win to revive the North African side’s hope of qualification.
Abdul Rahman rose to make the opportunities created by his side count, having struggled earlier to convert.
The win means that Ghana would still maintain their top spot on the log but locked on points with South Africa on nine points with the Sudanese closely in third place on six points.
Though Ghana coach, C.K Akonnor had experienced midfielder Mubarak Wakaso returning and veteran goalie Fatau Dauda also making a debut under Akonnor, the absence of Captain Andre Ayew was greatly felt.
Spotting the captain’s armband for the first time in his 10 years career with the Stars, Jordan Ayew failed to inspire his teammates to utilize the early possession they enjoyed.
On one such occasion in the 11th minute, Jordan nearly brought life into the game when he broke free on the left but his shot across goal drifted away from fellow marksman Caleb Ekuban.
This seemed to draw the host back into the game as they quickly organized to get men behind the ball and to turn the tide on their opponents.
This nearly resulted in the opener for the Sudanese when the strike pair Abdul Rahman and Hamid Al-Taish combined effectively but Fatau Dauda proved a towering figure, blocking Abdul Rahman’s effort.
The Sudanese kept their play compact and cautious after recess, ceding possession to the Stars who also struggled with their ball control and disjointed passing.
Jordan attempted to drive the Stars ahead with his solo effort six minutes into the second-half only to be stopped by Sudanese goalie Ali Eshrein.
The Stars kept probing for the opener with Wakaso ruffling Ali from a free-kick but the Sudanese stopper stood his grounds.
Abdul Rahman then stung the Stars late on to atone for his side’s two near misses earlier, denying the Stars an early celebration.
Ghana would face South Africa in March 2021 whilst Sudan play Sao Tome and Principe the same month.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO