Ghana coach CK Akonnor believes his team were let down by the unfamiliarity among players in Friday’s friendly defeat to Mali.
In his first game in charge of the Black Stars since taking over from James Kwasi Appiah in January, Akonnor watched on helplessly as his side succumbed to a 3-0 loss in Antalya, Turkey.
Ghana’s line-up featured three debutants as well as two players returning to the national fold after some time in the wilderness.
“I won’t blame the players for the defeat but the key thing which resulted in our loss to Mali was that the team was not organised,” Akonnor to Adom FM.
“The players didn’t know themselves because most of them were debutantes and [it was] even the first time they’re playing together.
“We trained for only two days and there was a lack of understanding as well. These are the few things which affected us during the game
“Mali didn’t play anything extraordinary but they were an organized side which handed them the victory.”
Akonnor handed a debut and starting place to Brentford winger Tariqe Fosu who was born in England to Ghanaian parents.
France-born defender Alexander Djiku, who plays club football for Strasbourg, also started in midfield for the Black Stars in what was his first appearance for Ghana.
Israel-based winger Eugene Ansah was the third debutant in Akonnor’s first XI, starting the game on the left-wing.
Nordsjaelland teenager Kamaldeen Sulemana and Amiens midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey both made their debuts as substitutes.
Besiktas midfielder Bernard Mensah, who is back with the Black Stars for the first time since 2015, and goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi, who has been recalled for the first time since the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Egypt, also started in the game.
“We were all not pleased with the performance of the Black Stars,” Ghana Football Association (GFA) communications director Henry Asante Twum told Fox FM.
The Black Stars will play their second game in three days on Monday when they face 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
“Ghanaians should forgive us for such a poor performance from the team [against Mali] but you all should expect a better game against Qatar come Monday.”
Akonnor is testing his side’s strength ahead of November when Ghana face Sudan in a 2022 Afcon qualifying double-header.