Ghana coach CK Akonnor believes his team was let down by a poor second-half performance in their 1-0 away defeat to South Africa in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Monday.
During the trip to the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, the Black Stars were stung by a Bongokuhle Hlongwane strike seven minutes to full-time, condemning them to a first defeat of the qualifying series.
The loss has dropped Ghana to second position on Group G’s table after matchday two’s round of action, pending the match between Ethiopia and Zimbabwe on Tuesday afternoon.
“We started very well in the first half, tactically we were very disciplined. It went the way we want it. [But] we were not clinical upfront, that’s the problem. But I was satisfied with the way we played in terms of controlling the game,” Akonnor said after the game.
“In the second half, we somehow lost the midfield in terms of how we want to play because we believed that we could win the game. We did one or two substitutions, which really went the other way round and we kept dropping and dropping.”
Ghana side for Monday’s game was nothing but depleted, having to do without eight first team players, largely as a consequence of coronavirus-related restrictions.
The England quintet of Jeffrey Schlupp, Daniel Amartey, Jordan Ayew, Andy Yiadom and Baba Rahman had to leave camp after Friday’s 1-0 home win on matchday 1-0, due club orders.
Stade Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana also similarly retuned to his club, while Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey and Ajax playmaker Mohammed Kudus completely missed out of September’s round of internationals due to injury.
“The whole issue has been a problem, not just me but other national team coaches across the world. Today, you have a plan, tomorrow you wake up and a player has Covid-19 and he cannot join the team. Others are not allowed to join the team for the same reason,” Akonnor added.
“I don’t know if Caf and Fifa are handling the situation well because one may ask, can’t we play somewhere else if we cannot bring our players here? There are so many questions to answer and it’s not making us comfortable. It’s so difficult.
“We come under severe pressure from our nation, we have to win at all cost. Yet this Covid-19 issue has become a major setback and I don’t know if Caf and Fifa are handling the situation very well.”
Ghana return to action in October when they take on Zimbabwe in back-to-back games.