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Soccer News of Monday, 11 February 2008

Source: GNA

Two former Black Stars players react to Stars' performance

Kumasi, Feb. 11, GNA - Two former players of the senior national team, the Black Stars have expressed mixed reactions about the performance of the team at the just-ended 26th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament hosted by Ghana.

Joe De-Graft and the Reverend Osei Kofi in separate interviews with the GNA Sports in Kumasi on Sunday, said that the Stars could have done better and expressed the hope that the technical handlers would work extra hard to improve upon the team's performance in future tournaments. De-Graft, who was a member of the 1963 Stars' squad that won the Cup in Ghana, said much as the Stars could not win the trophy, their exhibition of quality football and determination on the field of play was commendable.

He particularly cited the Stars' matches against Nigeria at the quarter-final stage and Cote d'Ivoire for the third-place slot as the two matches in which the team looked so promising and therefore called on the authorities to maintain the squad for further events.

De-Graft lauded the players for their sense of patriotism, determination and discipline, which ensured their third place in the tournament and urged them to shun complacency and be committed to duty as the team prepared to play in the World Cup qualifiers this year. Rev Osei Kofi, a member of the 1965 Stars' squad that won the Cup in Tunisia, however, lambasted the technical team for their show of favouritism, which deprived some quality players from being selected to participate in the tournament.

He wondered why Shilla Illiasu, for instance who was half fit should be allowed to join the team when his place could have been given to more qualified players.

Rev. Osei Kofi also lashed at the technical handlers for fielding inexperienced players in some of the Stars' crucial matches when more experienced players could have been given the chance. "For me, we were architects of our own fall as we could have won the cup easily, if the right thing was done", Rev Osei Kofi noted, and called for a more radical approach to building a winsome side for future assignments if the Black Stars were to win future tournaments.