Former Ghana international Prince Polley Opoku has waded into 1992 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) final captaincy controversy.
The striker stated that Anthony Baffoe should have rejected the armband for the final game against Côte d’Ivoire and believes the situation was the reason why they lost the final.
Ghana went into the final of the 1992 AFCON final without substantive captain Abedi Pele who 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.
However, Baffoe who captained the team on the day and missed the decisive penalty that saw Ghana lose 11-10 on penalties denied any wrong doing, stating he wasn’t even aware he would be named captain.
The incident has generated wrangles amongst football fans in the country and Prince Polley who scored the winning goal in the 2-1 win against Nigeria in the semifinal in 1992 becomes the latest member of the team to add his voice to the controversy.
“If Tony Baffoe had rejected the captaincy, it would have helped the entire team to win the trophy. Immediately they named him to lead us, the spirit of the team faded. During the penalty shootout, Tony Baffoe was the one who blew the last penalty away. Truth to be told, he blew it away because he was under pressure”, he told Angel FM.
“I never thought he (Baffoe) can lead the team. If I were him I would have rejected it. I have exhibited that before. I remember we were playing against Liberia and with the absence of both Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah, they wanted me to lead the team but I told them to give it to Frimpong Manso since he was a senior player and interestingly Manso grabbed the match winner for us”
“Tony Yeboah was at the top so he (Baffoe) should have rejected it and support him” he said.
“Tony Baffoe got the opportunity to play for the national team through Tony Yeboah. So stripping him off the captaincy in the final means the authorities lost hope in Tony Yeboah.”
“In fact, the believe that we had in winning the cup took a nosedive because of the captaincy issue. During the game you could see clearly that Tony Yeboah was on and off but I knew him to be active throughout our games”, he added.
Polley also added that he was privileged to share the pitch with Abedi Pele, but Abedi wasn’t a unifier as he couldn’t control the players.
“What I keep saying is that, I’m proud to share the pitch with Abedi Pele but I think he couldn’t promote unity among us. I strongly believe that we could have won even a world cup with the squad at our folds if we were united.”
“I think his (Abedi Pele) leadership style declined due to the division between players”, he concluded.
Ghana has failed to win the AFCON since 1982, they’ve since then made it to 3 finals, losing twice to Côte d’Ivoire and once to Egypt.