Ex-Black Stars captain Abedi Ayew Pele, believes the 1992 national soccer squad that he led to the final of the Nations Cup in Senegal was not as strong as previously thought.

The squad, which lost to Cote d’Ivoire in the grand final after a marathon penalty shoot-out, and included the likes of Tony Yeboah, Emmanuel Armah, Eddie Ansah, Kwasi Appiah, Tony Baffoe, Frimpong Manso, among others, is considered one of the best generation of players the nation has ever produced.

But, apart from the Nations Cup loss, the team was also unable to win any major silverware, and as well failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in spite of their huge status on the African continent.

Speaking on E TV Sports programme “Revealed,” Abedi Pele sought to downplay their greatness, saying the 1992 squad was overrated.

“I think we had a strong team but not as strong as people really think it was,” the Ghanaian soccer legend said.

“We had characters who really never wanted to lose, who were really mentally strong and who wanted to win everything. So that made us look very very good,” the three times African Footballer of the Year acknowledged.

Abedi Pele explained that there was a difference between having great players and a great team, asking “do you see a bunch of generation stronger than the Ivorian national team today? The Didier Drogbas, Yaya Toures and the likes? What have they won? So it happens.

“But I tell you if you have a team like the Ivorian national team, you can have great players but to have a great team is another thing.”
Despite Abedi’s insistence, many local commentators have in time past pointed to a general lack of team unity as the main reason
for the ‘92 team’s failure.

However, the “soccer maestro” insists team spirit was not lacking in the camp of the Black Stars at the time.

“No. I think with the characters that we had, we did not lack team spirit because team spirit was just natural,” he said.

“The egos are there and the egos tend to be strong. If you don’t have ego you can’t win anything. Hey! you can’t be a leader, you must have it.

“If you have the ego, you can be a fighter, you will be someone who wants to achieve it all,” Abedi rationalised.

Abedi Pele was controversially handed the team’s captaincy prior to the ’92 Nations Cup by the Ghana Football Association on the alleged excuse that Abedi was better disposed to communication in both English and French languages than Kwasi Appiah.

Many felt the decision by the FA caused a major rift among the players which ultimately had a negative effect on the team’s output in subsequent outings.

Abedi, however, believes there was nothing wrong with the manner in which the FA managed the captaincy row.

“Well, I don’t know how better they would have liked things to be.

“But I think Kwasi has been my closest friend and we all arrived in the national team on the same day so I don’t know what they are talking about.

“If they are saying so, well for now it all belongs to the past so I don’t like us to go back to that anymore. I think we just have to leave it to rest and look towards the future.”

The 1993 UEFA Champions League winner concedes the events during his era as captain of the national team can serve as great lessons for the country.

“As for lessons, they are there for us to learn from it and build other young players from it.
“I think the lessons have been learnt and if it has been learnt for the best, then I think it is good for the country.”