2023 African Games: Ghana’s Ofei reveals secret behind qualification for men’s football final

2023 African Games: Ghana’s Ofei reveals secret behind qualification for men’s football final

Ghana U-20 manager Desmond Ofei says that reverting to a back four helped his team reach the final of the 2023 African Games men’s football contest.

The Black Satellites faced Senegal in the semi-finals on Tuesday and it seemed as though the game was heading for a goalless draw in 90 minutes but Michael Ephson popped up with the winner to hand the West African giants a 1-0 win.

Ofei revealed that his side have usually played with a back three throughout the tournament but had to change to a back four as some of his players were observing the Muslim Ramadan fast.

‘’If you watch our previous games you will know that this is our system. On the ball, we play with a back three because we want to dominate the midfield with four mid-fielders and that’s what we have been doing throughout the tournament,’’ Ofei said.

‘’Some of the boys are fasting so it’s tiring. So, at the right time, we decided to switch to a back four and solidify the midfield more with two holding mid-fielders and play with double wingers and it helped. That’s how Jerry managed to get the assist to our striker Ephson.’’

Ghana will face Uganda in the final on Friday and Ofei believes his players have the right mentality and preparation to win the gold medal.

‘’We started camping on time and got to touch on every facet of the game. The boys are well-prepared for this tournament and they keep growing. Their mentality is incredible; they are very hungry and very humble despite the quality we have in the team,” Ofei added.

‘’A final is a final and we are going to enjoy it. For us, it’s a final and we are going to fight. Uganda is a very good team, we have to respect them. I saw them play and their movements with and without the ball is incredible. But we will prepare again and we know them. They have good individual players and we know their weaknesses. We will use our qualities and fight to the end. In the end, we will see what happens.”

Ghana will be gunning for a second African Games football gold medal having won it previously in 2011 in Maputo, Mozambique, while Uganda are guaranteed a medal with their previous best finish being fourth in the 1999 edition in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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