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African All Stars

Former Newcastle United winger Atsu reacts to Ghana criticism 

13:51 EAT 22/06/2021
Ghana midfielder Christian Atsu and Benin's midfielder Sessi D'Almeida during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
The 29-year-old shares his thoughts on the backlash of the national team for going trophyless since 1982

Ghana attacker Christian Atsu believes the high criticism of the performance of Black Stars FM in recent times is justified.

The Black Stars have not won a major trophy since clinching the Africa Cup of Nations in Libya in 1982.

Their best performances have been multiple finishes as losing finalists at the continental showpiece and reaching the quarter-final of the World Cup in 2010.

"We fight for the fans, we play for the fans and if you have noticed, if the fans are not behind us, we perform badly you know," Atsu told Starr Sports.

“But I know the fans don’t see this, we play for them and also give our everything for them but our best has not been enough for them and we deserve criticism from them.

“We just promise that everyday things will be much better."

Atsu made his first tournament appearance for Ghana at the 2013 Afcon tournament where the Black Stars finished fourth after losing to Burkina Faso in the semi-finals and Mali in the third-place play-off.

He then helped the West Africans to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where they endured a disappointing time, exiting the championship in the group stage for the first time.

At the 2015 Afcon in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, led by former Chelsea boss Avram Grant, surpassed expectations to reach the final of the competition, just falling short in a penalty shoot-out to Cote d'Ivoire.

Atsu produced his best run of fine performances for Ghana at the tournament, ending the championship as the Player of the Tournament and also winning the Goal of the Tournament gong.

In 2017 Atsu was once again part of Ghana's set-up at the Afcon, where they bowed to eventual champions Cameroon in the semi-finals.

Ghana failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup altogether, and at the 2019 Afcon tournament, it was a terrible time for Atsu individually and at team level.

In Egypt, the former Newcastle United winger's tournament ended prematurely as he picked up an injury in Ghana's second group game against Cameroon.

The Black Stars also exited the tournament at the Round of 16 stage, their first failure to reach the quarter-finals of the competition since 2006.