Prince Polley blames 1992 AFCON fiasco on Pele’s poor leadership, Baffoe’s greed

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Former Ghana striker, Prince Polley has ardently stated that the former captain of the Black Stars, Abedi Ayew Pele was not a unifier as he couldn’t control players during his playing days.

Ghana’s dream of winning their fifth African Cup were dashed after losing 11-10 on penalties against Ivory Coast in 1992.

Before the final, substantive captain Abedi Pele was suspended for the match against Ivory Coast and Tony Yeboah, who was assistant, was supposed to lead the team on the field.

But, a last-minute decision from coach Otto Pfister saw Anthony Baffoe who has not been with the team for long, leading the team on the day.

This generated a heated argument in the country as many Ghanaians attributed the Black Stars’ defeat in the final to the decision to hand leadership role on the day to Baffoe.

However, in an interview with Don Summer of Angel FM in Kumasi, Polley said, “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 was not the best because of divisions among players. I think his (Abedi Pele) leadership style declined due to the division between players,” he opined.

He however expressed his pride in sharing the pitch with the maestro, adding that the team could have won even a world cup with the squad were united.

He also took a swipe at Tony Baffoe for accepting to lead the Black Stars in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast in Senegal, insisting that they lost the cup due to captaincy rift.

“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 be told, he blew it away because he was under pressure,” he maintained.

Prince Polley who doubted the leadership abilities of Baffoe said he would have rejected the role if he were in the shoes of the former defender.

“I never thought he (Baffoe) can lead the team. If I were him I would have rejected it. I have exhibited that before,” he said.

“I remember we were playing against Liberia and in 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 support him,” he said.

The former Ghana striker said Tony Baffoe got the opportunity to play for the national team through Tony Yeboah and so stripping him off the captaincy in the final means the authorities lost hope in Tony Yeboah.

“In fact, the belief 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.”

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