1992 AFCON final: Otto Pfister explains why he snubbed Tony Yeboah and named Tony Baffoe captain

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Former Black Stars manager Otto Pfister has explained his decision to snub Anthony Yeboah for Anthony Baffoe as Black Stars captain for the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final clash against Côte d’Ivoire.

Ghana’s hope of wining it 5th AFCON trophy took a nosedive after losing 11-10 on penalties to Côte d’Ivoire. The game after 90 minutes and extra time ended scoreless.

Ghana went into the game without substantive captain Abedi Pele. The ‘maestro’ was suspended for the game due to accumulation of yellow cards.

Anthony Yeboah who was the vice captain was expected to lead the team in the final, but surprisingly Tony Yeboah was snubbed and Anthony Baffoe was tasked to lead the team.

Yeboah in a recent interview with veteran Sports journalist Kwabena Yeboah opened up on the issue, attributing the final loss to the ‘unfair’ decision.

Speaking in an interview with Citi TV’s Fentuo Tahiru Fentuo, Oto Pfister opened up on the controversies of 28 years ago that have seen renewed interest after TV appearances from members of the 1992 squad.

“Team handling is one of the most difficult duties of a football coach. But in Ghana, it’s a special situation with this clan [sic] thing: there are the Ashantis and the Ga-Adangbe people, Kumasi people and Accra people,” he told Citi TV.

“So I thought, to keep out this problem, and maybe it was a mistake, but I gave Tony Baffoe the captain’s armband because he was from Germany and he was out of this whole clan thing. That is why I gave him the captain.

“Baffoe also spoke French and one of the linesmen also spoke French. Just like Abedi who speaks English and French, but Tony Yeboah speaks English and German, and I had to make a choice so I chose Baffoe.

“But Tony Baffoe was also a great player; he played in Dusseldorf and also played with Metz in France. But beyond all that, he was the most neutral. He was absolutely neutral, that’s why I gave him the captain.

The 82-year old went on to apologize to Tony Yeboah.

“But this was not why we lost the final. It was 28 years ago and I’m sorry to Tony Yeboah for this but I think it wasn’t such a big problem.”

Tony Yeboah recently revealed that he was angry at the manager’s decision, but Otto Pfister has said that Tony Yeboah didn’t show any of that anger in his presence, he also insisted that the decision was not the reason why Ghana lost the final.

“We were in the hall, I did not see a reaction from him. You have to remember, in the Africa Cup of Nations final, it was a very stressful situation. Maybe he was angry inside, and I’m sorry for that, but I don’t think that’s why we lost the final,” Pfister concluded.

Ghana after an impressive run to the final lost to neighbor’s Côte d’Ivoire 11-10 on penalties. The game after 90 minutes and extra time ended 0-0.

Ghana has since then made it to 2 AFCON finals (2010, 2015) and lost both finals. The country’s hunt for a 5th AFCON trophy still continues.

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