AFCON 2015: We Tried Our Best – Gyan

asamoah-Gyan-2The Skipper of the Ghanian National Team, Asamoah Gyan, believes his team has no excuse for losing the final game against the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the just concluded 2015 African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

Asamoah Gyan, the all-time leading goalscorer of the Ghana national football team, said in an interview that although his team might be unhappy, they did well enough in the competition.

“We went to the penalty shootout but we lost.

“I am very sad at the moment, everybody is sad but I do not regret our performance at all,” Gyan said.

The top goalscorer in the UAE league in the 2013 season, said further that the team was hoping for a change, adding that they have a bright future. According to him, the least they could do is to work harder.

“We did so well in the competition and we have a bright future because we have got young talented players.

“We are hoping to change everything, we tried our best but it did not happen so I have got nothing to say,” the Al-Ain FC forward said.

Expressing his feelings about the Ivorian National team on the other hand, Gyan said he thinks they are happy.

“I think the Ivorians are happy now because they won the cup.

“They have gone to the final on two occasions and they’ve lost. This year they came back again to win it.

Ivory-coast
The Elephants celebrates

“They went to penalty shoot out two times and this is the third time they went to penalty shootout and they won,” he added.

The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire became African Champions for the second time after their first taste of the continental glory in 1992.

The Ivorians defeated a Ghanaian team that featured the likes of Abedi Pele in a similar final on penalties at Senegal ’92.

Cote d’Ivoire Beat Ghana 9-8 To Win AFCON 2015

AFCONThe Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire have defeated the Black Stars of Ghana 9-8 on penalties to win the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2015.

The Ivorian’ winning goal was scored by the goalkeeper, Barry.

The game had ended scoreless after regulation time.

Cote d’Ivoire also beat Ghana on penalties to clinch their first AFCON title in Senegal, 1992.

More details to follow

Joseph Yobo Predicts Ghana Will Win AFCON 2015

afconFormer Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo, has predicted that Ghana would win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) ongoing in Equatorial Guinea.

“I tip Ghana to win the tournament. As our brothers and long term allies, I would like them to win the tournament. Above all, I think they have a good team,” he said.

The Black Stars beat host country, Equatorial Guinea, in the semi-final to land in the final match against Ivory Coast who beat Algeria to progress.

Yobo, who confessed that he has not been following the tournament, feels the Black Stars led by former Chelsea Manager, Avram Grant, have shown enough resilience to win the trophy.

The Sunday evening duel would be a replay of the 1992 AFCON final, which saw Ivory Coast defeating Ghana to win in Senegal.

It is believed that the Black Stars, gunning for a fifth continental glory, would also be seeking revenge.

Ghanaian Striker, Jordan Ayew, has, however, said that the AFCON 2015 final match against Cote d’Ivoire would not be about revenge for the 1992 defeat that the Ghanaian team including his father – Abedi – suffered at the hands of the Elephants.

While expressing his hope for a win against the star studded Elephants, he said that the team’s focus would on ending their three decades of heartbreak in Africa’s biggest football prize.

Jordan insisted that he and his brother, Andre would not have revenge at the back of their minds when they walk on to the pitch to face Africa’s best player for four years, Yaya Toure; former Arsenal forward, Gervinho and other top players who make up the equally glory starved Ivorian team.

“We want to win the game on Sunday not because of 1992, but because we have not won an AFCON tournament since 1982,” Jordan said.

AFCON 2015: We Will Win This For Ghana – Ayew

ayewAhead of the Africa Cup of Nations AFCON 2015 final match that is to hold at the Bata Stadium on Sunday, the Ghanaian team are optimistic of the outcome.

Andre Ayew, the Ghanaian forward has vowed that the Ghanaian team will fight to win Sunday’s AFCON final match against Cote d’Ivore for the whole of Ghana.

The Ghanaian forward has shone in this competition, scoring three goals but he insisted it was the result of the confidence he has enjoyed both from his teammates and the coach.

“I have tried to raise my game because I have been given responsibilities both on and off the pitch. It is due to the group and the confidence from the coach,” he said.

He also blamed inexperience for the Black Stars loss at the 2010 AFCON final to Egypt saying that 14 players had been brought from the U20 World Cup and the team was in the final after three months of the tournament where they were attacking, but couldn’t score.

Ayew said, “I remember the red coat my father wore (sitting on the sidelines in the 1992 final). My father is a Ghanaian and so I want to win this cup for all Ghanaians.”

Ghana last won this competition in 1982 with Andre’s father, the legendary Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, one of the top stars from that triumph in Libya.

Ten years later, Ayew senior could not play another Africa Cup final after he picked up a second yellow card against Nigeria in the semi-final and Cote d’Ivoire went ahead to beat the Black Stars 11-10 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes of action. “When you get to the final, you need to do everything to win the trophy,” he said.

Ghanaian Black Stars Captain, Asamoah Gyan, returned to training in Bata on Saturday ahead of the AFCON 2015 final against Ivory Coast.

Gyan did not join his colleagues during the team work out, but trained separately with physical trainer Jamie Lawrence due to his health status.

Gyan must pass a late fitness test to make Avram Grant’s starting line-up for the final against Ivory Coast.

The 29-year-old missed Ghana’s AFCON 2015 semi-final against Equatorial Guinea due to a hip injury he suffered against Guinea last Sunday.

Avram Grant, the black star coach also said that reaching the final of the AFCON tournament is as important to him as reaching the UEFA Champions league final.

“For me, I do not rate any final as the best; it’s a good achievement we have reached with these guys and all Ghanaian should get behind the team,” he said.

The former Chelsea boss took charge of the West African giants three weeks to CAF’s flagship competition, but has managed to reach the final of the competition.

Ghana Faces Ivory Coast In AFCON Final, Crowd Trouble Mars Semi Final

ghanaGhana would be facing Ivory Coast in the final of the 2015 African Cup of Nations after securing a 3-0 win over hosts Equatorial Guinea.

However, crowd trouble marred the end of the semi-final duel in Malabo, as the match was suspended in the closing stages.

With the match in the final 10 minutes, their fans were forced to leave the stands and take refuge behind one of the goals after being pelted with objects from rival supporters.

Bottles could be seen scattered across the running track which surrounded the pitch.

The referee stopped the match and the players were left waiting in the middle of the pitch to find out if the match would restart, with the Equatorial Guinea players pleading with their fans to calm down.

Many of the fans left the stadium as the suspension dragged on.

The game restarted and Ghana sealed a place in the final against Ivory Coast after a penalty from Jordan Ayew and a Wakaso Mubarak strike at the end of the first half and a tap-in from Andre Ayew in the second.

The Ghana supporters appeared to be escorted by police through the tunnel, with reports of Equatorial Guinea supporters waiting for them outside the stadium.

Equatorial Guinea only stepped in to host the tournament after Morocco pulled out due to the Ebola epidemic.

Having never qualified for a World Cup, their only previous African Nations Cup campaign was in 2012 when they reached the quarter-finals.

Ghana have not won the Nations Cup since 1982, despite making the final four in the last four tournaments. They were losing semifinalists in 2008, 2012 and 2013, they were defeated in the 2010 final by Egypt.

AFCON: CAF Confirms New Match Venue

wizzyThe Confederation of African Football (CAF) has shifted the matches scheduled to hold in Ebebiyin and Mongomo in Equatorial Guinea to Bata and Malabo, after the group-stage matches left the pitches damaged beyond use.

The tournament officials confirmed the two venue switches on Tuesday and said that all Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final ties will take place in Bata and Malabo.

Originally, the last-eight showdown between Tunisia and hosts Equatorial Guinea was scheduled to take place in Ebebiyin on Saturday.

Similar problems occurred in Mongomo where a quarter-final match was originally slated to take place on Sunday, but that will now be held in the capital Malabo.

That match will kick off at 16:00, which means the remaining quarter-final, also taking place in Malabo, has been pushed back to start at 19:30.

Consequently, the CAF Executive Committee feels that the eight teams qualified for the quarter-final stages onwards should be given the opportunity to play on grounds that provide the highest standards, specifically those of Bata and Malabo, to ensure the quality of play remained at the highest possible level.

There have already been instances of overcrowding at matches earlier in the tournament and police being overrun by supporters.

Moving the match to Bata Stadium, which will also host the final on 8 February, means an extra 30,000 fans will be able to attend.

Report also has it that it is the first time in the history of the Nations Cup that quarter-finals matches have been relocated, but the logistics of holding the tournament in Equatorial Guinea at short notice have presented unique problems.

AFCON 2015: Zambia Coach Decries Players’ Performance

afcon;zambiaZambian Coach, Honour Janza, had criticised his team for selfish play after they were beaten 2-1 by Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Copper Bullets missed several excellent chances before they were undone by two late goals, to leave them bottom of Group B.

“Playing as a team in the last third is the most important thing,” Janza said,”We created more chances, could have scored maybe four goals, but because of selfish egos, it was difficult.”

Zambia won the 2012 AFCON when good teamwork was considered to be one of the basis of their victory.

Janza also accused the current team of “playing individual football”, adding: “In the last third, everybody wants to score, but it’s better to give the pass to somebody who is in a good position, because at the end of it it’s the whole team that benefits.”

Zambia skipper Rainford  Kalaba, who was named man of the match, agreed with his coach, saying: “I think we need to change the mentality, because the mentality is not good “We were  able to score, but we are not yet capable of defending the goal.”

Southampton striker, who scored Zambia’s goal but also missed several clear chances, went off injured and was transported from the stadium in an ambulance.

Janza said his injury “looked to be very serious”.

AFCON: Algeria, Senegal Fight Back To Top ‘Group of Death’

AFCONAlgeria and Senegal made winning starts to their African Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaigns on Monday with dramatic come-from-behind victories in Group C.

Moussa Sow scored with the last kick of the game at the Estadio de Mongomo to see Senegal to a 2-1 win over Ghana while South Africa missed a penalty and scored an own goal as they allowed Algeria to fight back and win 3-1.

The victories left both Algeria and Senegal on course for a knockout place if they win their next group games on Friday.

Senegal were behind after just 13 minutes when their captain Bouna Coundoul brought down Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew converted the penalty.

But patient play allowed Senegal to take command in the second half as they out-muscled a Ghanaian side who had new coach Avram Grant in charge for the first time.

Mame Biriam Diouf grabbed the second half equaliser when he reacted quickest to a rebound before Senegal snatched the win deep in stoppage time.

A long upfield punt by Coundoul fell kindly for substitute Henri Saivet, whose crisp one-two with Diouf released Sow in the heart of the penalty box and the striker gave goalkeeper Razak Brimah no chance with a first-time shot into the far corner.

“We might have been behind at half-time but we always knew we had the potential to win the game,” said coach Alain Giresse.

South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba declared the “best team lost” after watching his men squander an early lead and lose in front of a capacity 15,000-strong squad.

But that was unfair on the top-ranked Algerians, who finished strongly to confirm their status among the favourites.

Thuso Phala scored after a slick passing move for South Africa in the 51st minute and they then won a penalty just minutes later for a chance to go 2-0 ahead.

But Tokelo Rantie blasted his kick against the crossbar as a set of calamitous errors cost his side dearly.

Thulani Hlatshwayo mistimed a clearing header to concede an own goal in the 67th minute to allow Algeria back into the game. An innocuous-looking chip shaved the top of his head and beat goalkeeper Darren Keet.

Algeria were ahead four minutes later through as full back Faouzi Ghoulam scored from the right side in the 71st minute.

Islam Slimani made sure of the win with a third goal in the 82nd minute as the ball slipped under Keet’s body in another error from the South Africans.

“It was an intense game and it could have been catastrophic. But things turn quickly in football and we played well to come back and win,” said Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff.

President Jonathan Did Not Influence Keshi’s Return – Pinnick

pinnick2President of Nigerian Football Federation, (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has said that President Goodluck Jonathan did not influence Stephen Keshi’s return as the coach of the Super Eagles.

He explained that the president called members of the NFF and advised them to mend what the lapses are, adding that football has given the country a lot of prestige but insisted that President Jonathan did not have a hand in the return of Stephen Keshi.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television, Mr. Pinnick apologised to Nigerians on the performance of the Super Eagles at the just concluded 2015 AFCON qualifier between, Nigeria and South-Africa.

He noted that a lot of changes will be made, in terms of players attitude, selection of players, players fitness, psychology and welfare amongst others to enhance performance.

He commended the previous administration and noted that under his watch, the NFF will not only perform but will also engage uncelebrated Nigerians excelling abroad.

AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles beat Congo 2-0

Super Eagles.The Super Eagles on Saturday defeated the Red Devils of Congo, scoring two crucial goals in the second leg of the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifier match.

The win over Congo has boosted the African Champions’ chance of qualifying for the tournament that will hold in Equatorial Guinea next year.

Nigeria is now second in Group A with seven points while South Africa still leads the group with 11 points from five games.

Two second half goals from striker Ike Uche from the penalty spot and Aaron Samuel ensured Nigeria moved to second spot in the group.

The Eagles now need a win over South Africa to seal their place amongst the 16 teams that would compete in Africa’s biggest football tournament.

It was a hard earned victory for Nigeria, with Godfery Oboabona’s jersey torn while Azubieke Egwueke had his head bandaged.

During the game, Congolese fans threw different materials into the pitch, as Nigeria raced to the two-goal lead.

The development led to a temporary suspension of the game for over six minutes.

The Congolese side had defeated the Super Eagles in the first leg of the game in Calabar. They now stand at the fourth position with seven points while Sudan is at the bottom of the table with 3 points from five games.

Equatorial Guinea To Host 2015 African Cup Of Nations

Nations CupThe Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced that Equatorial Guinea will host the 2015 African Nations Cup after Morocco was stripped off the event hosting right, having asked for it to be postponed over fears of the spread of the Ebola virus.

Oil-rich Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s smallest countries with a population of just over 600,000, hosted the 2012 finals with neighbours Gabon but will take on the 16-team tournament on its own from January 17 to February 8.

Morocco was on Tuesday stripped off the right to host the finals with the north African country also disqualified from taking part in the tournament after its request for a postponement was rejected by CAF.

The decision on the new hosts was made after a meeting in Malabo on Friday between Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang and CAF President Issa Hayatou.

“The head of state of Equatorial Guinea agreed to host the competition. As a result, the CAF executive committee confirm that the tournament will go ahead and Equatorial Guinea will compete as the host nation,” a statement from African soccer’s governing body said.

African football’s governing body also announced that Equatorial Guinea will play in the tournament – despite the team being disqualified in July for fielding an ineligible player in a preliminary qualifier against Mauritania on May 17.

Matches will be held at four venues in Bata, Ebebiyin, Mongomo and the capital Malabo. In 2012, the tournament was hosted in Malabo and Bata.

The draw for the finals will be in Malabo on December 3.

Keshi Urges Nigerians To Keep Faith As Eagles Resume Training

KeshiSuper Eagles are back in training at the Abuja National Stadium after a shocking 1-0 loss to the Falcons of Sudan in a crucial Nations’ Cup qualifier in Khartoum.

Coach Stephen Keshi led the team in an early morning training session and appealed to Nigerians not to lose faith in the team.

Midfielder, Mikel Obi, also emphasized the need to concentrate on the next three games instead of whining over last Saturday’s defeat.

He said that the team is determined to pick the maximum points in their remaining game as all hopes is not lost in the battle for qualification.

Wednesday’s return leg between the Super Eagles and the Falcons of Sudan will start at 5pm at the main bowl of the National Stadium in Abuja.

The African champions are bottom of Group A with a point from three matches.

The Bafana Bafana of South Africa top the group with seven points after three games, Congo is in the second position with six points while Sudan has three points.