Sports News of Saturday, 13 April 2019
Ghana coach James Kwasi Appiah says he is looking forward to giving his opponents “a good game” after being drawn against defending champions Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in the group stage of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
The Black Stars – four-time champions – were placed in Group F in the draw conducted at the Sphinx and the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, on Friday.
The 2015 finalists will open their campaign at the June 21-July 19 event against Benin on June 25, four days before squaring off against Cameroon, who eliminated the Stars in the semi-final of the last championship at Gabon 2017. Ghana’s last group game will be against Guinea-Bissau on July 2.
“We have the defending champions [Cameroon] in our group,” Appiah told SuperSport after the draw.
“Benin and Guinea-Bissau are all strong teams. For them to qualify, that means they’re doing very well.
“The most important thing is we need to prepare very well so that whichever team comes our way, we’ll be able to give them a very good game.”
Ghana’s preparations for the upcoming tournament looks to have been affected by their Football Association’s bribery and corruption scandal, which led to suspension of all local competitive matches between June 2018 and last month.
“Unfortunately, because of the incident in Ghana, the [local] league was not ongoing so we had to rely mostly on our foreign players,” Appiah explained.
“As you know, the players are professionals and when it comes to their work, the concentration [provided] is what they need to give out. So I believe that it [scandal] is not going to have too much effect on us. We’ll come out with the best that we can do.”
Appiah also didn’t rule out a return for veteran captain Asamoah Gyan, who has missed Ghana’s last 10 matches due to injury and loss of form.
“He is part of the players that I’m monitoring at the moment,” the coach revealed.
“He has an injury but we’re still monitoring the injury.
“Since he’s a Ghanaian, what I say is every Ghanaian has got the chance [to be selected], so you never know.”
Ghana will be seeking to win the Afcon title for the first time since 1982.