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Failed Olympic Dream: Winners and losers from 2019 U-23 AFCON

Black Meteors Meteors finished fourth at the AFCON

Mon, 25 Nov 2019 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Aside the obvious motivation of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, the Under-23 AFCON was a litmus-test for some coaches and players.

Aided by hype and bit of hard work, these players and coaches have assumed certain positions with a section of Ghanaians being of the view that they deserve a place in the senior national team, the Black Stars.

Ghana exited the tournament failing to achieve its ultimate dream of making a return to the Olympic Games.

While some members of the team made cases for inclusion in the Black Stars with their consistent display of fine football, others also proved why they deserve no place in the team.

Ghanaweb.com brings you an analysis of who impressed or disappointed at the just-ended tournament.

Losers

Ibrahim Tanko

What a story it would have been for Tanko had the Meteors against all odds qualified to the Olympics.

His much-touted status as the heir apparent to Kwesi Appiah would have received a major boost had he led the team to the Olympic Games for the first time in fourteen years.

Being denied of funds for preparations and clubs’ refusal to release players may be cited by loyalists of Tanko as the reasons for the team’s inability to reach the Olympics.

However, the lack of cohesion and direction demonstrated by his team, the defensive frailties which witnessed no improvement in the five matches the team played have raised doubts about his competence and ability to handle the Black Stars should he be given the job someday.

Tanko went into the tournament with the tag of ‘next Black Stars coach’ but returned with a tag of ‘not good enough’.

Yaw Yeboah

The skipper of the side was one of the big names in Ghana’s team and almost everyone was looking up to him to inspire the team to success in the competition.

Like Egypt’s Ramadan Sobhi, Yeboah was expected to bring his experience with the Black Stars to bear and not only lead with the armband but also with his performance but Yeboah who is known for his pace and dribbling skills could not light up the tournament.

His struggles could be attributed to Tanko’s tinkering of the team which saw him play as a winger, striker and central attacking midfielder but for a player with such promise and pedigree his two goals are not enough to paper over his below-par performance.

Winners

Evans Mensah

The only Ghanaian player to make the list for the best eleven players of the tournament.

Mensah was Ghana’s best and most exciting player. Quick, trickery and daring was he throughout the tournament.

His decision making is suspect and needs working on but at 19 he’s got age on his side and will definitely improve. His screamer against South Africa is further proof of his talent which has placed him in contention for a Black Stars call-up in the near future.

Kwabena Owusu

The Spanish-based forward was one of the few players in the team with Black Stars experience.

A versatile and rapid forward who always proved a handful for opposing defenders. He experienced his low moments but stepped up when it mattered most.

A brace against Mali when everyone thought it was over shows how much of a potential he is.

He’s obviously talented but most often gifted players have been let down by their poor attitude. Owusu, unfortunately seem to be on that path.

Reports from the camps of both the Black Stars and Meteors painted a picture of a very enigmatic and controversial figure.

Samuel Obeng

Composure, physique, good timing are attributes you will ascribe to this lad after watching him for few minutes.

One of the bright spots for Ghana in the tournament and a possible answer to Ghana’s goalscoring problems.

In his equalizer against South Africa, Obeng showed how good a poacher he is to time his run with the marauding run of Evans Mensah to scrap home the goal.

Talk of players with balls and strong mentality and Obeng will get a mention.

It takes a player with some nerve to try a panenka at the semi-final stage of a tournament.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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