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Sports News of Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Black Stars' late captaincy change could cost them in the AFCON - Odartey Lamptey

Former Black Stars player Nii Odartey Lamptey is unhappy with the timing of the change in captaincy ahead of next month's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

A week ago veteran striker Asamoah Gyan sensationally announced his retirement from international duty due to his unhappiness over being stripped of the captaincy.

Then after a plea from Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo, the Black Stars legend decided to return to the squad. Last Friday, Fenerbahce attacker Andre Ayew was named the new skipper. He will be assisted by Inter Milan ace Kwadwo Asamoah.

"A month before a tournament for all these issues of the captaincy [to come up] is [a distraction to] the team," Lamptey told Happy FM.

"The timing is very poor because people are now focusing on the captaincy issues rather than the preparation towards the tournament.

"Ideally they should have allowed Asamoah Gyan to take the team to Egypt, then after the tournament, it can be taken from him. Or it should have been done six months ago, not now."

In the new setup, Gyan has been named as the 'General Captain', a less prestigious and more advisory role usually held by a very senior member of the team.

"I can’t advise Asamoah Gyan to reject the 'General Captaincy' role but my fear is that people will attribute anything bad that happens in camp to him and this captaincy issue," Lamptey opined.

"He should have maintained his retirement but nobody can reject a presidential request.

"We have a history of issues with captaincy so we should have handled this issue in a way that won’t affect us like [it did] in the past."

Gyan was named in Ghana's provisional squad for the Cup of Nations a few hours after announcing his return.

The press conference to announce the squad was cancelled because of the captaincy controversy. The team's non-residential training exercise in Ghana was also cancelled.

In search of their fifth title and their first trophy in 37 years, the Black Stars will start their quest in a tricky group which also includes Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.