The ex-Borussia Dortmund man reflects on the team’s controversy ahead of the tournament in Egypt
Former Ghana assistant coach Ibrahim Tanko has revealed ex-Black Stars boss James Kwasi Appiah’s decision to strip Asamoah Gyan of the captaincy ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was unilateral.
Just a month prior to the continental championship in Egypt, Ghana’s camp was in disarray as the veteran striker was forced to give up the leadership, the armband promptly handed over to Andre Ayew.
“I don’t know what happened before the tournament, honestly,” Tanko, who was one of Appiah’s two assistant coaches at the time, has told Joy Sports.
“It was his [Kwasi Appiah] decision. I don’t know what happened that took the captain from him [Asamoah Gyan] because no one within the technical team except Kwasi Appiah knew the reason why.”
Gyan was displeased by the move and consequently announced his retirement from national duty before rescinding his decision just in time for the tournament.
“When we went to the tournament, you could see that there’s not too much involvement of him because of what happened before the tournament,” Tanko, currently head coach of Ghana’s B side, added.
“He decided not to go before the President [Nana Addo] intervened on his behalf and we took him there. So, as to whether it was right or wrong, I can’t tell but we went with him and that resulted in us having the worst Afcon in long time.
“Because of what happened before we even left, there was no unity, but I am sure we have learnt our lessons so going forward we will do things better.”
It was a tournament to forget for the Black Stars as they suffered a Round of 16 penalty shoot-out defeat to Tunisia, failing to make the quarter-final for the first time since 2006.
“I am sure this is how it is supposed to be because when you qualify for a tournament, you need all the players and the nation behind you,” Tanko said when asked whether Appiah should have reached a consensus with Gyan, who had captained the Black Stars since 2012, before announcing the decision.
“Of course, Gyan has a lot of people who admire him, he has a lot of fan base, so when these things happen, you have divided the country and this was what happened before we went for the tournament, it doesn’t help us.”
After the tournament, Tanko was fired as assistant coach, a situation he recently revealed was a result of suspicion that he was undermining Appiah.
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