Former Black Stars striker Prince Tagoe has made a serious allegation regarding the controversial substitution of winger Joseph Paintsil during Ghana’s crucial match against Mozambique in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday night.
Paintsil, who had been a standout performer for Ghana in the first half, was replaced at halftime by captain Andre Ayew. This decision proved costly, as Ghana surrendered a two-goal lead and drew 2-2 with Mozambique, ultimately leading to their elimination from the tournament.
Sacked coach Chris Hughton initially attributed the substitution to Paintsil’s fatigue in his post-match press conference. However, Paintsil refuted this explanation in a viral video, responding to a journalist’s question with a dismissive “What fatigue?”
Furthermore, Tagoe alleges that the substitution was not a tactical decision but rather a result of a personal feud between Osei Kwaku Palmer, the owner of Tema Youth, and Kurt Okraku, the President of the Ghana Football Association. Paintsil has ties to Palmer’s club, which has a long-standing legal dispute with the GFA. Tagoe believes that the issues between Palmer and the Okraku-led GFA are the reason for Paintsil’s shock substitution.
“There are people who decide to make certain players feel uncomfortable because of issues they have with other management members. An example I can clearly make is the substitution of Joseph Paintsil. Apart from the penalty incident, he also made some good runs. Which coach in his right sense will take him off at half-time?
“It doesn’t make sense. If Kurt has a problem with Palmer, he should sort it out with him and leave the player alone. Some things are just nasty. These things happen in the national teams where they make certain players uncomfortable. Which kind of coach would have benched him? The player was about doing more for the Black Stars, then we take him off,” Tagoe expressed on Angel TV.
The Black Stars failed to secure a victory in any of their three group stage matches, drawing two and losing one. Consequently, head coach Chris Hughton was relieved of his duties by the Ghana Football Association.