Africa: Ghana Boss Calls for New Rules Over Players Injured On Poor Pitches

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Ghana coach Avram Grant urged Africa Cup of Nations organisers to change the regulations so that teams can replace players who have suffered injuries because of the state of the pitches.

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Grant’s side lost left-back Abdul Rahman Baba to a serious knee injury suffered in the first half of their 1-0 win against Uganda on Tuesday at Port-Gentil.

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The 22-year-old Schalke defender has returned to Germany to continue his recovery.

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Hours before the first round of matches, ground staff at the stadium were scattering loose bits of grass over the pitch in order to cover up long furrows of sand.

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

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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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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The 61-year-old added. “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.”

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Egypt and Ghana will meet in their final group game in Port-Gentil on 25 Janaury.

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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.

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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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