Football

Ghana coach calls for new rules over players injured on poor pitches

The controversial pitch at CAN 2017
The controversial pitch at CAN 2017 RFI/Pierre René-Worms
2 min

Ghana coach Avram Grant urged Africa Cup of Nations organisers to change the rules to allow teams to replace players who have suffered injuries because of the state of the pitches in Gabon.

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Grant's side lost defender Abdul Rahman Baba to a serious knee injury suffered in the first half of their 1-0 win against Uganda on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old.has returned to Germany where he plays for Schalke to continue his recovery.

Hours before the first round of matches, ground staff at the stadium in Port-Gentil were scattering loose bits of grass over the pitch in order to cover up large patches of sand.

In the second game on 17 January, Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shnnawy went off after diving to make a save during the 0-0 draw with Mali.

Essam El-Hadary replaced him. Gabon and Burkina Faso have each had two players ruled out of the rest of the tournament since their 1-1 draw in Libreville on Wednesday.
"The main actors are the players and we need to give them the stage to perform well," said Grant on the eve of the clash against Mali on Saturday in Port-Gentil.

"Five injuries so far have been down to the pitch. The organising committee should change the rules to let teams replace players who got injured due to the pitch.

"We cannot change the pitch now and move the games to other pitches but we can adjust the rules. Let Egypt bring in other goalkeepers. They can’t stay with one goalkeeper. It is not fair.”

Egypt and Ghana will meet in their final group game in Port-Gentil on 25 Janaury.
Before that, the Egyptians take on Uganda on Saturday. El-Hadary is slated to start in goal. His 148th cap for Egypt at the age of 44 years and six days will also extend his record as the oldest player to feature at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Egypt coach Hector Cuper said he was resigned to his side’s fate. "The rules are clear. If something happens we know you can't do anything. I would like it if we could but we can't."

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