Black Stars draw with stubborn Comoros

It was not exactly doomsday performance but after protestations over money and threats not to travel to Moroni for the world cup qualifier because of attempts to slash their winning bonus, the Black Stars turned in a limp performance completely undeserving of what they ask for.

This was one of the worst 90 minutes of football that the side has played, certainly the worst under the Israeli Avram Grant against a side ranked 177th in the world.

And things could have been worst given that Chamed’s goal for Comoros with ten minutes remaining should have stood. That offside flag should never have gone up and now instead of celebrating a famous first leg win, the natives in Comoros were left to cheer a famous draw.

The Black Stars had their moments too especially when substitute Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and then Dede Ayew hit the post in the same spot minutes after Comoros had been denied a clean goal.

The Black Stars could argue the conditions at the were far from ideal. The artificial pitch was uncomfortable and the players seemed more worried about picking up injuries than competing for 50-50 balls.

Concerns over the pitch was also the reason behind a decision by Grant to start his skipper and proven goal scorer Asamoah Gyan on the bench. Gyan had suggested he was scared to play on the pitch and watched till 83 minutes before he was brought on. By then it was too late. Ghana had laboured, Majeed Warris had missed a sitter and skewed a header horribly wide and Comoros had grown in confidence having seen their parked bus work work to full effect.

Yet it was not part of the script. The Black Stars were supposed to go into this game and win as comfortably as possible. Three time world cup appearances, stellar names, big reputations but that did not count. Maybe it is the preparations that made the difference.

Worried about a potential slash in their winning bonuses, the Stars spent the period leading up to the game moaning above ‘slave’ treatment before delaying their flight to Moroni in a stand-off over their winning bonus from the Rwanda game.

And given that they had known the team will play on artificial pitches throughout, the Stars somehow trained all week on the natural grass at the Accra Sports Sports.

When you take away the disappointment of the Ghana performance however, this was one monumental effort from Comoros. They defended in numbers, kept their shape and consistently looked dangerous on the counter attack. And as the minutes went by, their confidence increased.

But they should have been behind well before then when Majeed Warris was set up by Jordan Ayew. Somehow he blew his effort over the bar from three years. It summed up Warris day; slow and ineffective.

Then Harrison Afful went on a superb run towards the end of the game, cut in on his left and drove a fine effort which goalkeeper Ben Boina superbly tipped over.

Ghana started the second half on the front foot but that desire was at no point translated into chances. And sensing danger Grant threw on David Accam and Agyemang Badu. Still with three strikers on it was Badu who had the most impact, driving the team forward with Dede Ayew and getting stuck deep into tackles.

Ultimately it didn’t make much of a difference. The Black Stars will now have to seek qualification into the next stage in Kumasi where they almost always win. But if they were looking for the perfect performance to create a party atmosphere in Kumasi on their return to the city, then they didn’t manage that. Tuesday has taken on a whole new meaning now.