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Walk of shame: Comoros end Ghana’s AFCON dream

FOOTBALL By Sammy Kitula | January 20th 2022 | 3 min read


Ghana's captain Andre Ayew during the African Cup of Nations 2022 Group C soccer match between Gabon and Ghana at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on Friday, January 14, 2022. [AP Photo, Themba Hadebe]

Tears. Anguish. Pain. Disappointment. More tears.

Ghana's Black Stars had ambitions at this year's African Cup of Nations. They had huge dreams.

For a team that has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times (in 1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982) and has finished second five times (in 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010, and 2015), this was meant to be another successful outing, somewhat.

Ghana and their fans' mourning was loud and obvious, while the Comoros were clearly on cloud nine. They chose to dance at the poor Ghanaians' graves. Not that they cared much anyway. They had done the unthinkable.

Playing in their first African Cup of Nations finals, the small Indian Ocean island archipelago registered not only their first goal of the tournament, but their first win in a stunning result.

The Comoros side was like a forest. From those of us watching them from the outside, they looked dense. To their opponents, The Black Stars, who saw them from the inside, they must have seen that each player, just like a tree in the forest, had their place.

The minnows had an enviable character. One that clearly wasn't developed in ease and quiet, but through endless trials and tribulations that saw it strengthened to the extent of flooring the 'Mighty Ghana'. Oh, what a night for the Comoros.

When centre referee Mali's Boubou Traore blew the final whistle, it was a locale of contrasts inside the Roumde Adjia Stadium.

As players of Comoros, a county that joined Fifa family in 2005 and are ranked 132nd in the world, punched the air in merriment, hugged and shed tears given their unforeseen glory, Ghana's stand-in captain Thomas Partey closed his eyes, held his hands together and bowed his head. He just stood still.

Jordan Ayew covered his faces in anguish, while to the lionhearted, including Amartey, they only gazed.

With scores beaming on the big screen; Ghana 2 Comoros 3, it only made it worse for the West African lot.

You see, football can be a perilous game to watch. It’s not for the faint-hearted, this sport. The exhilaration that comes with the 90 minutes of action is without an equal; it's second to none.

In every tournament, there is always that day when a team has things going their way. When everything seems to fit in a template. At such moments, even their supporters know for sure that, this is our time. It’s that moment we can't afford to dull our shine.

For Comoros, Tuesday must have been that night. The gods of football were smiling for a job well-done by a country that has a population of slightly under 900,000 and with a literacy rate of 58.8 per cent.

Forever in their minds, Ghana's Black Stars will want to fast forget this Black Tuesday. A night when they failed to win at least one pool stage match despite having made 22 past visits to the finals.

With a harsh early (25th minute) red card for lead striker and captain Dede Ayew, it only got worse for the pre-tournament favourites.

The 10-long success and fear-factor Ghana have enjoyed came to an end in a very unfashionable manner. But that's football.

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