Former France international Marcel Desailly has shed light on why he downplayed Ghana’s chances of winning the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which was held in Egypt.
Ghana at the AFCON in Egypt displayed it worst performance at the African showpiece event since 2006.
After struggling to qualify from the group, the Black Stars were knocked out by Tunisia in the round of 16 on penalty shoutout (5-4) following a 1-1 stalemate after 90 minutes and extra time.
Prior to the tournament, Desailly correctly predicted that Ghana were not among the favorites for the title.
Speaking in an interview with Footballmadeinghana, the 1998 World Cup winner explained his decision.
“I said that to reduce a little bit of pressure and expectation around the team,” Desailly told Footballmadeinghana.
“I did also in purpose to help but at the same time it was true deep down what I was thinking.
“I knew that individually we were not strong enough to make the difference and perform but I was hoping that collectively, we were going to be clever enough to play all together at the same time at our best level to be able to pull off a surprise.
“Just a surprise [because] it could have not been something obvious from the beginning.
“I was having doubts, I was not fully convinced about the tactical set up that was put in place.
“He [coach Kwasi Appiah] could have done better.
“He should’ve tried to protect less of the talented players he had and killed some of the egos to be able to have a group of players who might be less talented but ready for the battle.
“This is why I identified that Ghana was going to have some difficulties.”
The Black Stars have failed to win the AFCON since 1982, the 4 time champions have since then played in 3 finals (1992, 2010, and 2015), losing 2 to Côte d’Ivoire and the other one to Egypt.
However, the Chelsea legend believes the trophy drought can be overcome only when distractions are dealt with.
“If there aren’t egos on board with regards to who has achieved what,” he told Footballmadeinghana.
“If the Minister of Sports doesn’t also interfere with the sports system.
“Yes they are helping with money but people should stay in their place.
“The coach should be allowed to coach, the president of the Federation should stay in his position while choosing the guy in charge and giving him all the tools to succeed,” he continued.
“Board members should not be allowed to infiltrate the team to cause confusion.
“It will take time for Ghana to win the Afcon but if everything is in place and everyone is able to stay in their position,” he concluded.
Ghana haven’t won the AFCON since they did in Libya 1982, the 4 time champions have since then played in 3 finals and lost all 3.