Raoul Savoy, the coach of the Central African Republic, expressed his deep disappointment following his team’s defeat by Ghana on Thursday, September 7, 2023, with a score of 2-1. This loss dashed their hopes of securing their first-ever ticket to the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Savoy vehemently criticized “unfairness” in Thursday’s game and made a rather ominous prediction about Ghana’s future in AFCON.
The Central African Republic, on the brink of making history with their first-ever qualification for the AFCON, had their dreams shattered by Ghana. This defeat meant they were eliminated, with Ghana advancing alongside Angola, who managed a disappointing 0-0 draw against Madagascar in the other Group E qualifier. Raoul Savoy, visibly upset after the match, delivered a gloomy forecast for the Black Stars.
The Fauves, missing their captain Geoffrey Kondogbia due to injury, took the lead with a goal from Louis Mafouta in the 25th minute. However, they were equalized in the 43rd minute and ultimately lost in the 88th minute. The winning goal was marred by controversy as Black Stars’ center-forward Antoine Semenyo seemed to commit a possible foul in the build-up, which was not acknowledged by the Kenyan referee Peter Waweru, as VAR was not in use for this match.
This decision drew sharp criticism from Raoul Savoy, who stated, “I am very proud of my players. We played better than Ghana and didn’t deserve to lose. I believe the match should have ended in a 1-1 draw. Ghana may have qualified, but we wouldn’t have lost. The second goal was clearly offside, but we know the referee was on your side. We expected the referee to favor you, and he did,” as he expressed his frustration to the Ghanaian press.
He went on to say, “Your next AFCON will be like the last,” alluding to Ghana’s disappointing performance in the previous edition held in Cameroon, where they managed only one point in the group stage, marking their worst showing in AFCON history. Given Ghana’s performance in this contentious match and their narrow qualification, Savoy’s grim prediction appears to hold some weight unless the Black Stars can quickly improve their game.