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Sports News of Friday, 31 July 2020


Captaincy rift denied Ghana 1992 Afcon trophy - Prince Polley

Former Ghana international Prince Opoku Polley has disclosed that the captain's band rift denied the Black Stars winning the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations title in Senegal.

Prior to the tournament, Abedi Pele replaced Kwesi Appiah as the skipper of the team, a decision that created division among the players in camp.

A captaincy vacuum was created when Abedi Pele picked a second yellow card in the semi-finals against Nigeria, ruling him out the grand final against the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire.

It's been 28-years after failing to clinch the ultimate and Polley has blamed those who masterminded the appointment of Tony Baffoe as the skipper in the final against Cote d’Ivoire as the cause of the setback.

"The captain's band was a minor issue which should not have derailed our ambition to win the trophy at stake but it got out of hand due to how it was handled.

"The manner in which it was handled changed the mood in camp and dampened team spirit just before we went into the match against Cote d’Ivoire," Polley told Graphic Sports Online.

He noted that "Just after the announcement of the change of captaincy, a state of despondency was created in the hall and we were quiet as if we had lost a valuable item. For me, it was the team spirit that was sapped from us before such a crucial match."

"It sapped our fighting spirit so much that we could not offer our best in the most important match of the tournament. We had a good team and should have won the cup hands down after defeating Nigeria but the pettiness of a captain’s band and how it was handled robbed us of that magnificent trophy," he explained.

"Before the tournament, Tony Yeboah had always led the team in the absence of Abedi Pele and had proved to be a worthy leader capable of commanding the team to achieve good results," he recalled.

"We were all shocked about the sudden change of events and wondered what was amiss. The room that had been filled with enthusiasm since morning suddenly became very quiet as if chilled water had been splashed at us.

"The announcement really dampened team spirit because the one who was leading the attack, and most key players were affected psychologically.

"I know Tony did his best in the match just like all players but I realised that giving him the captain’s band to lead the team would have galvanised him to perform better that day to help secure the ultimate trophy for Ghana," Polley recounted.