For a third successive World Cup, Ghana have reached the finals, and although the odds are stacked against them, international Chris Dickson believes they are more than capable of causing an upset or two.
The Black Stars rose to prominence after their performances back in 2006 in South Africa, becoming the only African nation to qualify for the second round and ultimately bowing out to Brazil.
But their next World Cup was even better and but for Luis Suarez’s infamous hand ball for Uruguay in the quarter-final, and Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss, they could have been celebrating a semi-final spot.
On both occasions they have been the underdogs to African rivals Ivory Coast in the finals, and they go into this tournament at odds of 200/1 to become the first African nation to win the World Cup.
First of all, though, they have to come through a very tough group including Germany, Portugal and the United States.
But although former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Dickson, capped twice for his country, feels his fellow countrymen are up against it, he believes their young squad could pull off a few surprises in Brazil.
“We were so close at the last World Cup with the Suarez handball and then Gyan missing a penalty,” said Dickson.
“Hopes are high definitely and the thing about Ghana is that they’ve got a lot of young players that people don’t know about yet.
“Hopefully they’ll go to the World Cup and shine. You never know, they say an African nation is going to win the World Cup sooner or later and hopefully it will be Ghana.
“They went into the last World Cup as dark horses and they will do so again. Everybody always looks at the Ivory Coast and Nigeria but we like to keep quiet and slide in through the back door. You never know. It’s a tough group but I am sure we can prevail.”
Dickson’s two appearances for Ghana came while he was with Championship side Charlton Athletic.
The 28-year-old looks back on those games against Zambia and Tanzania with a lot of pride and they represent his greatest achievement in the game, having come up all the way from non-league with Dulwich Hamlet in 2007.
“They were both whirlwind experiences,” said Dickson. “Against Tanzania we played in front of 90,000 people and Zambia was over here at Leyton Orient’s ground and it was a good experience as well.
“I was on the bench for a World Cup qualifier as well against Libya. I didn’t manage to get on, but it was still an amazing experience.
“It’s definitely the highlight of my career and I am still in touch with quite a lot of players who are in the national team now.
“It’s a massive highlight and it is an honour to play for your country in any capacity, whether it be at youth level or full international and I take great pride in it.”