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2021 AFCON: Ghana FA boss Kurt Okraku jumps to defence of 'perpetual bench-warmer' Philemon Baffour

Published on: 20 January 2022

Ghana FA president Kurt Okraku has jumped to the defence of under-fire defender Philemon Baffour amid widespread criticism over his consistent inclusion in the Black Stars. 

The consistent call up of the 20-year-old has come under the mirror for his ageless bench-warming role in the team.

The Africa Under-20 winner with was part of Ghana's 28-man squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon but never kicked a ball.

Baffour's inclusion has been unfairly linked to his association to Dreams FC - a Ghanaian Premier League side owned by the FA boss.

But Kurt Okraku has rejected the claims and insists he deserves a chance just like any Ghanaian.

“I think you are being unfair to Philimon Baffour. The young man is a Ghanaian just like every other person. He deserves the opportunity. He is the vice-captain of Dreams FC. He is a U20 champion,” Kurt Okraku Asempa FM's Benedict Kwadwo Mensah.

Baffour is yet to be capped at the international level despite his consistent call-ups.

The four-time African champions exited the group stage for the first time since 2006 after a disastrous AFCON campaign.

The Black Stars cemented their bottom-ranked status in the group after losing 3-2 to tiny debutants Comoros in Doula on Tuesday night.

The defeat has sparked a wave of anger and controversy in the West African nation with widespread calls for the sacking of Milovan Rajevac and massive reforms.

The Serb was the man to lead the Black Stars to the final in 2010 and the World Cup quarter-finals that same year.

But times are harder for Ghanaian fans after Rajevac could only guide them through to Africa's play-offs for this year's World Cup.

After only topping their qualifying group ahead of South Africa on goals scored,  the West African giants are unseeded for the play-off draw - facing one of Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Nigeria for a place in Qatar.

Ghana's disjointed performances has signaled a new low for Ghana football amid talks for serious reforms in the wake of the shameful output.

The Black Stars lost 1-0 to Morocco before drawing 1-1 with Gabon and losing to tiny Comoros to finish bottom of group C with just a point.

Although the defeat on Tuesday was a new low for Ghana, their disjointed performances were cause for concern in the lead-up to the match.

Having failed to win an AFCON title since 1982, Rajevac is under serious pressure after returning for a second spell in charge in September.

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