In the search for redemption, Kwesi Appiah's return coupled with a return to Kumasi saw the Black Stars of Ghana put on a show worth every minute of watch.
For 90 minutes it felt like 2013 all over again in Kumasi. The Baba Yara Stadium was overflowing wth a boisterous, colourful and appreciative crowd cheering every move of the Black Stars as they befuddled an overwhelmed opposition. There was a connection and the players felt it within their core.
They loved every bit of it as they basked in the returned love like a new romance. They might have put up brave faces in the face of a decline in the relationship over the past three years as the Ghana Football Association(GFA) moved venues in a bid to project a false sense of appreciation and welcome for its beleaguered blue riband team but it was gone.
There was nothing false about the booming rendition of "God Bless Our Homeland Ghana" by over 30,000 fans within the theater that is the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday and its impact on the displays was profound.
As one player had indicated in a chat before the game; " The absence and ill feeling of the fans towards us is really affecting us and needs to end".
A lot of work went into this and there must be a commendation for the various actors who for the past week wooed and even groveled before fans and media in a bid to forestall the apathy of Ghanaian football fans particularly in Ghana's second city.
Credit to the GFA for a few reasons. The departure of the much disliked Avram Grant had created an opening for them to bring back the lost love and they took it with the appointment of Kwasi Appiah, an individual many Ghanaian football fans had a soft spot for. Appiah became the totem of a rallying call and said all the right things including giving away parts of his salary every month to a fund for ex-players and coaches. Appiah's willingness to freshen up his team with local names and fresh European-based talent also created an expectation and an appetite that had disappeared during a period that was roughly labeled "template squad calling" by the departed Grant.
The back patting, hugs and smiles that were exchanged by the hierarchy of the GFA at the team base after the game announced the accomplishment of a mission. Three points won in a convincing manner with entertaining football in front of a baying home crowd signalled that they were on track.