Black Stars coach Avram Grant has described the 9-8 shootout loss to Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the 2015 AFCON as “heartbreaking”.
Ghana lost after Ivorian goalie Boubacar Barry scored the 22nd kick of the shootout following his save on Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah. The match had ended goalless after 120 minutes, and Grant says the final result was hard to take for the team especially after taking the lead in the shootout; but he was pleased with the overall output in the competition.
“To be fair, I feel a lot of pain after losing like this. We were the better side on the day, and we even had the advantage of leading in the shootout. But I can say that I am proud of what the players did in this tournament. We were the highest scoring team, and we gave away the least number of goals. It is sad we lost,” Grant said after the match.
He refuted claims made by Cote d’Ivoire coach Herve Renard that the Elephants were mentally tougher than the Black Stars, and that was the difference between winning and losing the shootout.
“When you win, you can say anything. I do not know what the connection is between mental strength and penalties. They missed the first two and that was not down to mental strength? But these things happen in football.”
Despite missing the biggest prize, some of the Black Stars players took away the individual awards with Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew winning the Best Player of the Tournament and Top Scorer respectively.