2023 AFCON qualifier: Why I played Gideon Mensah at centre-back against Madagascar - Otto Addo explains

Published on: 02 June 2022

Ghana head coach Otto Addo has explained why he played Gideon Mensah at centre-back in their 3-0 win over Madagascar in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Mensah played a key role in helping the Black Stars keep a clean sheet at the Cape Cost stadium on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old partnered Daniel Amartey in the centre of defence with Denis Odoi and Baba Rahman deployed as the full-backs.

"He played well against Nigeria and in free training. Especially when I know that we are the favourites [against Madagascar] and we have the ball more, I feel more comfortable if somebody can move with his left foot."

"Actually, our number 6, Baba [Iddrisu], was mostly free and it is more difficult, from the left side, to play to him with the right foot," coach Addo said after the game.

"So if we have a natural left-footer, we can use that space more and we can play to Baba much easier than a right-footed player. That was the reason why I decided to play Gideon there. I know he is capable of good defending, he made some good tackles as well. Gideon is capable of so much more and maybe he doesn’t know."

The result means Ghana go top of Group E with a better goal difference after Angola defeated Central Africa Republic 2-1 in the group's other game earlier in the day with a better goal difference.

The Black Stars will travel to play the Central African Republic in four days' time while Madagascar hosts Angola in the group's other game.