2019 AFCON Qualifier: Kwesi Appiah Hails Black Stars Players After Win Over Ethiopia
Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah has hailed his players after overcoming a difficult weather condition to record a 2-0 win over Ethiopia in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Jordan Ayew was handed a start in Addis Ababa, joining Emmanuel Boateng in attack and he rediscovered his fine form as he found the breakthrough with just three minutes on the clock.
The Crystal Palace forward controlled a long pass from defender Harrison Afful before finding the back of the net with a fine strike from close range. He doubled the lead before the half-hour mark via penalty spot after Emmanuel Boateng was fouled in the box by Ethiopian goalkeeper.
However, the Black Stars laboured for possession in the second department as the Walias threatened a few times but the Black Stars held on to pick maximum points.
“The players did well considering the nature of the pitch and secondly the altitude, it wasn’t easy. Even though I was standing out there, I was sometimes finding it difficult to breath but for them to the whole 90 minutes I think they’ve done really well,” Coach Appiah told reporters after the game.
“Tactically after we went ahead two goals the intention was to make sure they will be able to contain the weather and for that reason the opposing team had opportunity to maintain the ball more.”
“At the end of the day, if they possess more you don’t have a problem but once they enter your box that’s where the problem will be created but on the whole looking at the altitude it was very difficult in the second for our players,” he deduced.
With CAF yet to make a final decision in regards to Sierra Leone (who have been banned by FIFA and therefore barred from playing the last three rounds of qualifiers) and their status in Group F, the Black Stars’ place at the 2019 finals is not fully confirmed.
But if and when CAF award 3-0 wins to Sierra Leone’s opponents for the three missing games (two of which were against Ghana), Kwesi Appiah’s side will be mathematically be guaranteed a place in the top two of the group, and therefore safely into Cameroon 2019.