Former Ghana international Nii Odartey Lamptey, believes Ghana would have it’s fifth continental title had striker Tony Yeboah, captained the team during their 1992 Africa Cup of Nations final match against Ivory Coast in Senegal.
Ghana, four-time African champions, had its hope of winning fifth continental title was dashed after losing 11-10 on penalties against Ivory Coast.
With the suspension of substantive captain Abedi Ayew Pele, Tony Yeboah, who was his vice, was supposed to have led the team in the final clash.
But the former Leeds United star, was overlooked as Tony Baffoe was handed the captain arm band to lead the team.
Scattered reports in the Ghanaian media suggest the decision to hand the leadership role to Baffoe cost the team the title as it sparked division in the team.
And the former Anderlecht star,claims Ghana, perhaps might have lost the cup due to the captaincy row.
But Odartey, in a seperate interview with Ahomka FM and Ocean 1 TV says “We would have won the African Cup if Tony Yeboah had worn the captain band”
He added ”Everyone has its own mindset but if I were Tony Baffoe, I wouldn’t have accepted the captaincy, I remember in Australia 1993 similar thing happened, Banini was then the captain but the moment I arrived in camp, the players came to me after dinning that they want me to be the captain of the team but I didn’t accept it until they came back two days later still wanting me to lead the team before I accepted their request.
”I didn’t want it to look like I have always been captaining the team but maybe Tony Baffoe also thought that he was a fine opportunity for his to captain the team hence accepting the arm band in our game against Ivory Coast,”
Meanwhile, Prince Polley speaking on Kumasi-based Angel FM in a separate interview, said “If Tony Baffoe had rejected the captaincy, it would have helped the entire team to win the trophy. Immediately they named him to lead us, the spirit of the team faded. During the penalty shootout, Tony Baffoe was the one who blew the last penalty away. Truth to be told, he blew it away because he was under pressure”
“I never thought he (Baffoe) can lead the team. If I were him I would have rejected it. I have exhibited that before. I remember we were playing against Liberia and with the absence of both Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah, they wanted me to lead the team but I told them to give it to Frimpong Manso since he was a senior player and interestingly Manso grabbed the match winner for us”
“Tony Yeboah was at the top so he (Baffoe) should have rejected it and supported him” he said.
“Tony Baffoe got the opportunity to play for the national team through Tony Yeboah. So stripping him off the captaincy in the final means the authorities lost hope in Tony Yeboah.
“In fact, the believe that we had in winning the cup took a nosedive because of the captaincy issue. During the game you could see clearly that Tony Yeboah was on and off but I knew him to be active throughout our games.
“What I keep saying is that, I’m proud to share the pitch with Abedi Pele but I think he couldn’t promote unity among us. I strongly believe that we could have won even a world cup with the squad at our folds if we were united.
“I think his (Abedi Pele) leadership style declined due to the division between players”.