Borussia Dortmund coach Otto Addo in the mix for Ghana role

The African Cup of Nations, which is currently taking place in Cameroon, has reached the knock-out phase which kicks off today with Gabon vs Burkina Faso.

The AFCON features a number of players from the Bundesliga and a few who are on Borussia Dortmund’s radar and is a spectacle of exciting football. So just how are the Bundesliga-based players taking part getting on at ‘AFCON 2021’ and why is the tournament such a hot topic for BVB’s Otto Addo? 

The 2021 African Cup of Nations, a biannual tournament organized by CAF, is taking place in Cameroon at the moment. The group stage saw some thrilling matches and plenty of upsets as a number of big names fell at the first hurdle.

There are no current Borussia Dortmund players involved in this edition of the tournament, but there is plenty of Bundesliga interest. BVB coach Otto Addo will also have followed the group stage closely, as he is the current assistant coach of the Ghana national team.

The four-time champions went to the tournament with what was described as ‘the best of Ghanian football’ and were widely tipped to make the second round but crashed out during the group stage.

Ghana, who had St. Pauli’s Daniel Kofi-Kyereh in their squad, finished bottom in Group C. They managed to gain just 1 point from the group stage in a 1-1 draw against a Gabon team who had to make do without their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker, who has scored 29 goals in 75 matches for his country, departed due to a reported heart complaint after testing positive for Covid-19 but has since been given the all-clear by Arsenal doctors in London.

After having missed the knock-out stage for the first time since 2006, Ghana yesterday made the decision to sack head coach Milovan Rajevac. Addo, who is part of the Ghana coaching staff, did not travel to this year’s tournament but was involved in qualifying matches. And reports in the country claim that he could be asked to step up and take on an even bigger role for the national team shortly.

Former Borussia Dortmund striker and Ghana U-23s head coach Ibrahim Tanko is also being tipped by the press in Ghana to be a ‘frontrunner’ for taking over as the senior team head coach.

For followers of the German game, there is plenty of interest in this year’s tournament. An eye-opener with Germany-based players is the impressive Gambia team, who are taking part for the first time and got through to the last 16. The Gambian team, who are coached by Belgian Tom Saintfiet, includes some Germany based players but not from where you might expect:

Impressively, the Gambia who are known as ‘The Scorpions’, have a squad made up of journeymen from across the second, third, and even fourth-tiers of mostly European football like goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye who plays with Regionalliga Südwest side Rot-Weiss Koblenz.

Their squad only contains 7 top tier players: veteran defender Sulayman Marreh of KVV Gent, defender Omar Colley of Sampdoria, midfielder Ebrima Darboe of AS Roma, striker Yusupha Njie of Boavista, midfielder Musa Barrow of Bologna, striker Assan Ceesay of FC Zürich and forward Muhammed Badamosi of KV Kortrijk.

Alongside the Gambia, the other surprises are the Comoros Islands. Known as the ‘Coelacanths’, and coached by French coach Amir Abdou, they are also first-time qualifiers and also reached the last 16 where they will face hosts Cameroon.

Also among the achievements of the tournament, which has a prize purse of $5M for the winner, has been the participation of 35-year-old referee Salima Mukansanga, who oversaw the game between Zimbabwe and Guinea, becoming the first-ever female to referee a match at AFCON.

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