Richard Kingson has revealed the mental ridicule Ghana had to deal as the locals touted the Black Stars as ‘babies’ in the days leading up to African Nations Cup quarter-final clash with hosts, Angola.
The goalkeeper who captained a young Black Stars squad bereft of six established players who missed the competition through injuries to the finals of the Nations Cup where defeat to Egypt denied them the title says the team was fuelled on by the comments from the hosts.
“We were up for the contest and were turned on by Angola’s ridicule of our team claiming we are ‘babies’,” Kingson told the press in Accra on Wednesday.
“I was furious with such comments which seemed to demean the ability of our team.
“I talked them [Black Stars players] up about going out there to beat them. I asked the team to show how tough they are. These youngsters showed good discipline and commitment.”
Ghana beat Angola 1-0 to skip into the semi-finals as the young Black Stars team with 12 Nations Cup debutants displayed good work ethic and an all-round performance to defy all pre-tournament predictions.
After a slow start to the competition, losing to 3-1 to Ivory Coast, Ghana regained confidence to win their next three matches by the score of 1-0 with wins over Burkina Faso in the group stage, hosts Angola in the quarter-finals and a semi-final triumph over Nigeria.
Kingson, one of the few experienced players in the squad during the competition believes Ghana’s fledging Black Stars can hit the top if they continue on that path.
“I can only pray they continue with such performances. They are already stars and not babies as the Angolans claimed.”
However the goalkeeper admits that the modern game might not afford them too much time to grasp things at the senior level considering the competitive nature as such a level.
“They are young and at such a stage you have to tackle everything. I yell and fight – figuratively - with them over certain things but I understand that they are up-coming and are not used to such things.
“But I love them [youngsters] too much. They are wonderful to work with.
“You have to do all that to instill some toughness in them. And we were always on the right track,” Kingson said.