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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Ghana coach Rajevac explains underwhelming performance in friendly loss to Algeria

22:43 GMT+3 06/01/2022
Milovan Rajevac
The Black Stars boss believes external forces have accounted for his team’s challenges in preparing for the tournament

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has blamed his team’s poor showing in a friendly encounter with Algeria on the late arrival of players to camp.

In their first and only test game ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the Black Stars failed to find their rhythm as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Algeria in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Adam Ounas and Islam Slimani netted for the Dessert Warriors, adding to Jonathan Mensah’s own goal.

“Unfortunately this decision from Fifa to allow players to stay in their clubs in this period affected our plans for the preparation since most of the time we didn’t have many players to work with,” Rajevac said of his team’s performance in midweek, Joy Sports reports.

“Many training sessions we had seven or eight players and three goalkeepers, so it’s very difficult to do some tactical work to prepare the team the way we planned in the beginning.

“Even [against Algeria], we had like 13 players and four goalkeepers, so it definitely affected us but it affected the other teams as well. But this has not been a usual preparation for a big competition because usual preparations, you have two weeks to work with the full team. This has been totally different.

“Let’s hope that everything will be okay at the tournament. We’re gathering, we have a good atmosphere so let’s hope everything will be okay.”

Ghana were without the likes of captain Andre Ayew, Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew and Reading left-back Abdul Baba Rahman for Wednesday’s game owing to their late arrivals to the camp.

Stade Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana was completely missing from the matchday squad as he was yet to join the team in camp.

Ghana are in Group C for Afcon, pitted against Morocco, Gabon and Comoros.

On Monday, the Black Stars will open their campaign against the Atlas Lions, whom they lost 1-0 to in an international friendly in June.

Rajevac’s outfit will then take on Gabon on Friday before wrapping up their group stage campaign with a fixture against Comoros on January 18.