Vanguard (Lagos)

2 February 2014

Libya/Ghana: Libya Proved Underdog Status No Longer Part of Football - Fans

Abakaliki — Some football fans in Ebonyi say Libya's victory over Ghana on Saturday in South Africa is an indication there is now a gradual disappearance of the underdog status in football.

Libya had on Saturday in Cape Town won the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) trophy by beating Ghana 4-3 on penalties.

This was after regulation time scores stood at 0-0, and the North Africans thus avenged their loss to Ghana in the 1982 AFCON final on home soil.

Football fans who spoke on Sunday on Libya's success said the victory showed that big names no longer hold sway in continental and world football.

They said the recipe for success still remained astute planning and commitment.

Chijioke Enyi, the Minority Leader, Ebonyi House of Assembly, said the Libyans' success was due to long-term planning and stakeholders-commitment.

"Libya has been in turmoil since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, and all its sectors, including sports, have gone comatose.

"The stakeholders, in spite of this condition, still planned for success as they realised that it was a major way of healing the wounds from the turmoil and initiating national integration," Enyi said.

Chief Jude Nnoli, a sports administrator, said Libya's victory showed that foreign coaches still have something to offer on the continent.

He said the foreign coaches should not be disregarded, because some of them still provided the desired results for their employers.

"Javier Clemente, the Spaniard who guided Libya to victory, took over the team two and half months ago and still impacted an impeccable tactical discipline in the team to ensure success.

"I urge Libyans to use this victory as a rallying point for national unity and support the coach in order to achieve more successes for the country," Nnoli advised.

On his part, Mr. Julius Antwi, a Ghanaian living in Abakaliki, attributed the west African country's loss to the team's ultra-defensive approach and attacking bluntness.

"The team adopted a defensive approach which it felt would ensure success, but it met a Libyan side that was more adept at that sort of tactical pattern.

"Coach Kwesi Appiah should ensure that the main Black Stars do not adopt such pattern at the World Cup in an attempt to survive the onslaught of Germany, Portugal and the U.S.," Antwi said.

James Baidoo, another Ghanaian, also called on Appiah to invite some players who excelled at the CHAN event to the 2014 World Cup team.

He said this would help in fortifying it and taking care of deficient areas in the main team.

"Goalkeeper Anthony Adams who was easily the best in the competition can solve the goalkeeping problems, while Samuel Ainosson and Nuru Sulley can fortify the defence," Baidoo said.

Mrs Judith Ogbonnaya, a medical doctor, also congratulated the home-based Super Eagles for finishing third at the competition and called on Nigerians to appreciate its efforts.

"A third-place finishing on its debut should be commended, and the authorities should ensure that more opportunities are given to home-based players to showcase their talents," he said.(NAN)

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