World Cup 2002 - African qualification

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World Cup 2002 - African qualification - match report
Sudan - Ghana 1:0   Feb 25, 2001, 1700 GMT
Before the match:
Ghana and new appointed coach Jones Attuquayefio seem to have a problem ahead as the man is also coach of African club champions Hearts Of Oak Accra. has investigated for The Shot into the problem of collisions of the Ghana national team campain (with the possibly crucial last World Cup qualifier against Nigeria on July scheduled for July 28th or 29th) and the World Club Championship to begin for Hearts Of Oak at July 29th:
Coach Jones Attuquayefio is now working full time with the Black Stars after seeing Hearts of Oak through the Super Cup. Hearts are presently looking for a replacement. It could be either Herbert Addo or Sam Arday. Addo was the coach of Obuasi Goldfields when they reached the champions league final in 1997 and had previously coached Cornerstones and Hasaacas, both Ghanaian clubs to WAFU cup titles. 
Sam Arday was the national U-17 coach when Ghana won the world cup in 1995. He has also coached the national U-21 side and the senior national team. He presently works for Feyenoord Rotterdam. No decision has been taken yet, but observers also believe that if Ghana loses this week-end's game in Sudan, Coach Jones may be fired. In that case, he might revert to Hearts of Oak again.
1st half:
- Sudan in white shorts, red shirt, Ghana in yellow shirts, black shorts
-('3) first opportunity for Sudan after a free kick cross from the right hand side, a defender blocks the goal attempt
-('4) great save by the Sudanese keeper when a Ghanaian attacker was broken through (Ismael Addo?) and tried to score by a low shot
-('12) some problems for Ghana after a high ball into the penalty area
-yet a balanced match
-('13) Sudan: header after a corner and great save by the Ghanaian keeper Adjei
-('19) Sudan: distance attempt goes wide 
- Sudan have gained momentum surprisingly playing a lot of long and high balls
-('25) the Sudanese keeper comes out in time to prevent from a ghana opportunity
-('37) after minutes of neutralization Aismael Adddo sets up an Emmanuel Kuffour ? shot which misses the goal only by a narrow margin and would have left the keeper without any time to react
-('43) half chance for Sudan
halftime 0:0
Ghana are waiting for their chance to prove their individual scoring quality can decide this balanced match in favor of the visitors. The match is not very fast and so Sudan could be able to stay in the game if they can keep up concentration
2nd half:
- ('47) Ghana score by a fine lob on the counter attack but it is ruled offside
- ('52) pretty but harmless attempt by the Sudanese 
- ('54) the Sudanese keeper drops a cross but the immediate attempt by a Ghana player goes wide
- ('56) the Sudanese keeper has some problems with not very precise but sharp distance shot from half left
- ('60) long ball on Sudan #18, he is through and lobs over the keeper but the ball goes across the bar by half a meter - the biggest chance for Sudan yet
- ('60) Adjei intervenes in time to prevent from another opportunity for the Sudanese
- the match remains fragmented until suddenly
- ('66) Ghana #16 makes a surprise lob from 16 meters which eaves the Sudanese keeper without chance but bounces back from the goalpost back into the field
- ('71)  free kick from 17 meters for Sudan when Adjei handles the ball at the line of the penalty area, linesman says it was outside: the Sudanese make a trick freekick, instead of shooting a pass. It does not work out perfect but #8 is able to unleash a low shot which goes through defenders and beats Adjei - 1:0
- ('75) a mistimed cross forces Adjei to a good save and creates even more excitement in the stadium - the crowd had been silenbdced by the relative control of the game by the guests and suddenly woken up by the goal
- ('81) Sudan: is it a cross or a lob on the goal? it almost beats Adjei but goes wide
- ('83) Ghana bring on a couple of substitues
- ('85) a quick throw in sets up a chance for Ghana but the angle is too tight to score
-the match is more open now, Ghana attacking and Sudan looking for to decide the match by a counter attack
-('injury time) Adjei saves against a 12 meter shot from excellent position
final score 1:0
the Sudanese won the match by a suitable style for the bumpy pitch.- they were lucky in the decisive situations. Ghana looked a bit more dangerous but eventually could neither score when in a counter position nor play out a sufficient number of opportunities after having fallen behind. Everybody laughing about Ghana first will have to win here - Liberia already lost also
After the match:
There was big sign readable at the side of the road all four weeks long: 'Khartoum, big trap waiting for you to fall into'. Not that Ghana played that bad, but they did not play well enough to make it impossible to beat them. And due to reports their preperations had been marred by late or no arrivals of European professionals. Now, having fallen behind and losing confidence, it seems unlikely they will come up with what is requesteded to win the remaining direct encounters with Nigeria and Liberia which would be needed to turn around things.
In consequence the disappointed fans in their pain indulge in paradox emotional outcries for complete distroyal of everything, asking for kicking out local based players and European professionals at the same time, changing the coach because he has changed players and because he has not changed players, etc. After the match Abedi Pele has offered his help and has spoken out in favour of keeping coach Jones Attuquayefio to give him the chance to build up a new squad like he had already done on club level at Hearts Of Oak.
The agressiveness and destructive potential of the discussions might play its part in the motivation problems for the professionals to return from the glamour world of European leagues to the bumpy grounds of African matches in front of a support that can turn hostile fast. An aspect that adds to the troublesome philosophical contraposition of individual (club) career  vs team interests, an energy eater especially for Africans and a conflict which will not (or cannot) be answered by all players the same as by Patrick Mboma. Fielding only local players will be no solution: if emerging as successful they will not be local players for much longer.
Ghanas football is facing similar problems like their West African neighbours but they have lost their superirity on the field as others have improved when Ghana didn't. While Nigeria yet still can conceal the same problems by the huge talent and reservoir from the big country the decline of Ghanaian football is reflecting all the typical problems Africa has with the structures of Football of today and of itself. Once leading on youth level they have already been overtaken by the remarkable programs of their poor neighbours Burkina Faso and Mali. And on adult level talent alone is not enough to win through the special demands of qualifying schedules against better prepared and clearer focussing opponents.

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