Ray Batchelor told me: “Many people told me I was mad to take charge of the team at such short notice. Maybe I am mad but I am a coach and when Kenya needs me, I will do my best. But I am not a magician, nor can I perform miracles.”
For a long time he had a lot of difficulty in coming to terms with the 13-2 thrashing. He knew there was another defeat coming his way. He was having nightmares in daylight.
According to Batchelor, “The Black Stars gave us an abject lesson in hard, accurate shooting. This is a lesson our forwards must learn before tomorrow evening.”
When I spoke to him next, he said he had had that Eureka moment. He had figured it out. There was one answer to the puzzle: “Stop that rampaging, scheming, centre forward Acheampong. He is the king linchpin, the brains of the attack. You stop him and you will stop the All Stars,” he talks out aloud. He was like a man possessed. He walks around almost the whole day, saying to himself: “Stop Achpong,” and within a few hours the name had be reduced to “Apong”. Who? That big centre forward, stop him.”
In the end, Batchelor made a total overhaul of the squad that had absorbed the 13 goals. Whether it was as a result of this, or his anti-Acheampong tactics, or Gyamfi’s ‘easy-boys-easy’ approach, we shall never get to know. But the second result was 3-3.
To Kenya, it was a miracle. But this miracle, if it indeed was, was not big enough to wipe out the 13-2 score-line from the record books.