Former President Mahama is full of applause for the senior national team, the Black Stars, after last night’s opening game against Portugal.
The team in a dramatic manner lost painfully to Portugal while demonstrating resilience and tenacity.
The former President in a Citi News interview observed the talent of the team and appealed to Ghanaians to stand behind it.
“The players played very well and very confidently. The boys have talents. So this is the Black Stars for now and the future, so let’s give them all our support, and I am sure they will go far.”
A two-minute collapse in the second half by Ghana’s Black Stars helped Portugal pick up a 3-2 win in their Group H clash.
Andre Ayew’s 73rd-minute goal cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty and appeared to have given the Stars a new lease of life.
However, goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao in the 78th and 80th minutes put Portugal back in control.
Osman Bukari headed home a second for the Black Stars, but the Portuguese held on, despite nine added minutes, to pick up all three points.
The defeat would have been hard for Otto Addo’s men, who stifled Portugal for much of the first half and the beginning of the second.
Ghana even looked more dangerous than they had in the first half, as Kudus flashed a shot just wide after a surging run.
It was Portugal, however, who broke the deadlock with a controversial penalty.
Mohammed Salisu was adjudged to have taken down Cristiano Ronaldo in the box by the referee, who stuck to his guns despite the protests from the Ghanaians.
Ronaldo stepped up and fired home clinically to put Portugal ahead.
The lead lasted only five minutes as Kudus Mohammed, who had troubled the Portuguese with his speed and skill all game flashed in a cross from the left which was tapped home by Andre Ayew.
Disaster struck moments later when Baba Rahman failed to deal with a through pass. Joao Felix pounced on the loose ball and finished beautifully.
Substitute Rafael Leao rushed through on goal and slid the ball past Lawrence Ati Zigi.
Ghana looked down and out but were handed some hope when Osman Bukari headed home Baba Rahman’s cross.
Nine minutes of injury time flew by as the Stars searched for an equaliser and they almost found it when Inaki Williams snuck in behind Diogo Costa to steal the ball but slipped at the crucial moment.
The win takes Portugal top of the group but the 0-0 draw between South Korea and Uruguay earlier in the day means today’s loss might not prove to be too costly for the Black Stars.
“I have seen some new players in there who played some fantastic football so we have some great potential in there. Otto Addo is a good coach so I think we should give him some space to able to blend the team. So far so good”, Mr. Mahama added.