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Annor Walker shell-shocked after Ghana CHAN exit

Annor, who was visibly distraught at the post-match press conference, lamented that, “I am really down. I never expected to lose this match. Even at 2-0 down, we failed to score even just one goal. It is a very big blow for us as a team.

“The Nigeriens were taking the 50/50 balls. They were determined. You could see that they were determined to win this match at all costs and when they got an early goal, it gave them more determination and, on our side, it demoralised us.

The Black Galaxies were without poster-boy Daniel Barnieh Afriyie who was red-carded in their last game against Sudan in the group stages.

When asked about his absence, Walker said, “Seriously I don’t know what to say because I am short of words. It is a very big blow losing this match but everything that God does is good.

“I have confidence in my players, but we have to give credit to Niger. I watched their game against Cameroon but today, they changed the way that they played.

“The early goal really demoralized us and when we conceded the second goal, we struggled to come back and eventually lost. I don’t think we deserved to lose.”

After his speech, Annor walked away with his face down and was sad beyond comforting. This was Ghana’s fourth appearance at the continental competition organized for players that feature in the domestic leagues in Africa.

Courtesy of CAF Communication Department 

CHAN 2022: It was make or break – Ghana star midfielder Abagna

Ghanaian playmaker David Abagna says the victory over Sudan in their final Group C match of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) was a make or break fixture.

Abagna, who put up a sterling performance, received the TotalEnergies Man of the Match award for his heroics that inspired his team to an impressive 3-1 victory at the tournament in Algeria.

The Real Tamale United enforcer, who dictated affairs from midfield that secured the win over Sudan at the Chahid Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine, credited the resilient fighting spirit of his team-mates after having to come from a goal down to seal the much-needed victory.

“When we conceded the goal, I told myself that we can’t go down and I also spoke to my teammates. We had to psych each other up. We had to push because it was a make-or-break situation” said the 24-year-old midfielder.

Abagna also credited his coach and technical support stuff for the planning and approach to the win over the east Africans.

“We came with a plan and needed to stay focused. It was very difficult, but we had to stay focused. Having this man of the match award makes me very happy. There is so much excitement for me right now. It was a good team effort win” said an elated Abagna.

The victory brings the Galaxies right back into the tournament, with a fighting chance of making it into the quarterfinal.

They will however have to wait with baited breath for the outcome of the final group match between a high in confidence Madagascar side that will be up against a wounded Sudan who will be hoping to rectify their mistakes in what promises to be a photo-finish for the group.

The final Group C match will be played at the same venue on Monday evening at 20h00 GMT.

Courtesy of CAF Communication Department 

CHAN 2022: Walker lauds Ghana for messages of support from home

Coach Annor Walker has applauded the people of Ghana for their unwavering support that preceded their 3-1 victory over Sudan in their second Group C match of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria.

The Galaxies came into the clash at the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to tournament debutants Madagascar, which put them in a precarious position of having to secure nothing less than a victory over Sudan to keep their CHAN title hopes alive.

Speaking after his side’s emphatic 3-1 victory at the Chahid Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine where they had to come back from a goal down, the Ghanaian coach credited the victory to the supporters back home, whom he thanked for their messages of encouragement ahead of the crucial tie against Sudan.

“I am very happy with the win. The loss in the first match made us realise that we have a lot of support from Ghana. They were very supportive and worried about the team. We received calls from everyone, who said they were supporting and praying for the team to do well”, said the coach.

It was quite an uphill battle for the Ghanaians who were also playing against a vocal Constantine crowd that was in full support of Sudan, an obstacle that the coach said he had to help his players overcome before the match started.

“We realized that we don’t have anybody. It was like a son without a mother and father that had to be on their own. Coming into the field, we quickly realized that the crowd was rallying behind Sudan, and this made me realize that we have to fight for ourselves. I had to psych up my players and encourage them to work hard for the win,” said Walker.

The victory puts the Ghanaians back into contention for a knock-out place which will be determined by the outcome of the final match of the group between Madagascar and a wounded Sudan side on Monday evening.

Should Ghana qualify for the knockout phase, Walker will be without the services of his skipper, Daniel Barnieh who was sent off in the dying minutes following a vicious tackle.

“It is unfortunate that this happened. I am worried because he is one of my top strikers. This has me worried a lot, but I have 25 players and I will definitely have a replacement to play in that position” concluded the coach.

Courtesy of CAF Communication Department 

CHAN 2022: Ten-man Ghana come from behind to defeat Sudan in thriller

The Galaxies of Ghana cruised to a 3-1 victory over a wasteful Sudan side in the only game played on Thursday at the ongoing TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algieria.

Sudan took an early deserved lead in the 31st minute through Al Gozoli Nooh but Walkner Annor’s side kept pushing for that equaliser and eventually got it in the third minute of extratime before the break through Konadu Yiadom who was well-positioned to put the ball past goalkeeper Ali Abdalla Aboeshren.

The Falcons of Jediane started the second half on a high note but it was Ghana that played with more preciseness in the pursuit of another goal.

Ghana were rewarded for their efforts when captain Daniel Afriyie was brought down in the box and he made no mistake to convert from the spot and hand his side a 2-1 lead in the 65th minute.

Sudan’s Ahmed Adam Ahmed could have equalized from just outside the box but he sent his freekick attempt way off the mark much to the frustration of his teammates in the 80th minute as the pressure continued to mount.

Four minutes later, Yasir Mozamil Mohamed had his shot at goal cleared off the line as Ghana continued to showcase their focus late in the game as they tried to protect their lead.

Nooh could have made it a brace, but his effort was blocked by the well-positioned Ghanaian goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad who was busy on the night eventually making three crucial saves for Ghana.

As Sudan continued with their pursuit of that equalizer, Sudan’s Salaheldin Mahmoud Nemer thought he had put the ball in the back of the net but Chadian referee Alhadji Allaou Mahamat checked with VAR to deny the goal in the 96th minute.

A minute later, Afriyie was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Walieldin Khdir Safour and in a crazy turnaround of events, substitute Seidu Suraj connected to a Jonah Attuquaye into the box to make it 3-1 for Ghana and seal the victory for the Galaxies in the 98th minute.

This is Ghana’s first win at this year’s edition and has sent them in second position with three points behind Madagascar’s six after two match days.

Courtesy of CAF Communication Department 

CHAN 2022 – We have to keep our feet on the ground – Rakotondrabe

Head coach of the Madagascar national team, Romuald Rakotondrabe says his side needs to keep calm and have their feet firmly on the ground after their blistering start at the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship in Algeria.

This was after the coach masterminded a shock 2-1 victory over tournament favourites, Ghana at the Chahid Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine in their opening Group C match on Sunday.

First half goals by Solomampionona Razafindranaivo and Olivier Randriatsiferana were enough to see the islanders pull the first upset of the tournament at a packed Chahid Hamlaoui stadium.

As impressive as the result was, coach Rakotondrabe is not getting carried away with the win, saying that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I am very proud of my players and what they have produced tonight. They beat the favourites and as I mentioned yesterday, the game of football is played on the pitch and not on paper,” said the coach.

“We must also be careful not to get carried away. Beating Ghana does not mean we can win the tournament. We still have more matches to play and they will be just as difficult-

Asked how he masterminded the victory, the coach attributed it to the amazing team spirit that exists in his squad.

“We have highly dedicated players who are willing to do anything for the team. We have been together for years and we are like a family.

“We also tried watching some videos of the opposition, but the victory is definitely due to the team spirit, unity and solidarity that exists in the camp and the pride we have for our nation.

The coach also lauded his players for remaining focused even after conceding a goal, which shifted the momentum to Ghana towards the closing stages.

“The game became a bit tense after we conceded. They really came at us, but my boys managed to remain calm and gave it their all in ensuring that we do not concede any further. We had a really good game, and I am proud of my boys” concluded Rakotondrabe.

Courtesy of CAF Communication Department 

History as Madagascar see off Ghana in TotalEnergies CHAN clash

Madagascar made history after defeating Ghana 2-1 in their first ever game at the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament on Sunday night in the Algerian city of Constantine.

The southern Africans registered their much deserved win and three points to go top of Group C and announce their presence in Algeria in fine fashion.

Forward Jean Yvon Razafindrakoto controlled the ball well in the Ghanaian penalty area to pass to Solomampionona Koloina Razafindranaivo who was in the right place at the right time and made no mistake in beating Dennis Nkrumah-Korsah to put the ball past Ghana goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad in the 11th minute.

Razafindranaivo’s celebrations thereafter sliding onto the grass at the corner flag as he was joined by his teammates reflected how much it meant to the islanders that were largely cheered on by the residents of Constantine who came out in their thousands to fill up the stadium in Constantine.

Ghana controlled much of the ball possession in the first half with 60% of it but it was Madagascar who had four of their nine attempts on target while Ghana had none of their six on target.

The Black Galaxies of Ghana kept pressing upfront with Daniel Afriyie Barnieh’s header attempt going off the mark before his next shot went straight into the hands of the Madagascar goalkeeper Zakanirina Rakotohasimbola.

Konadu Yiadom connected a corner-kick but sent his attempt way off the mark three minutes into the second half.

The Galaxies continued building momentum and just as they were starting to get comfortable in the pursuit of an equalizer, Augustine Randolf misplaced a back pass to Danlad that was picked up quickly by the attentive Tokinantenaina Olivier Randriantsiferana who slotted home to double Madagascar’s lead in the 62nd minute.

Ghana did not lose hope and as fate would have it, substitute Augustine Agyapong curved a swinger from the right side of the field to catch the unaware and flat-footed Rakotohasimbola to pull one back for Walker Annor’s side six minutes later.

Madagascar were now under pressure but they quickly found their feet and continued believing that they could win the game.

Ghana on the other hand kept pressing for the equalizer and almost came close in the 92nd minute when Kwame Out had his attempt stopped by Rakotohasimbola within six yards before Afriyie picked up on the rebound and he too was denied.

Madagascar held on to win the game and register a historic victory that will be celebrated by their fans back home as they enter a new week on top of Group C at the TotalEnergies CHAN 2022, a tournament that they are playing in for the first time.

Full report by the CAF Communication Department