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All pressure on Ghana as Cape Verde have nothing to lose

Published on: 02 February 2013

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah is expecting to find Cape Verde a vastly tougher side to beat in the African Nations Cup quarter-final on Saturday than the one that lost 1-0 to his team in a friendly in November.

"The two games have absolutely nothing in common," Appiah told reporters at his pre-match media briefing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.

"Only four or five players from that side are here - but the players who are here are tougher, stronger and far more confident.

"I believe Cape Verde is a very strong team now. I still think we will beat them, but it will not be easy."

Appiah came in for some criticism earlier in the week when he said he would rather face tournament favourites Ivory Coast than Cape Verde at this stage - a comment that raised some eyebrows among his domestic media.

But he explained what he meant on Friday: "The reason for thinking that is because I know every player in the Ivory Coast side and I know what to expect from them.

"Cape Verde, on the other hand, are coming to the game a very strong team but with no pressure on them at all.

"They are not expected to win, and so they have nothing to lose and that is a fear for me. Of course Ivory Coast is a dangerous opponent, but you know how to plan for a familiar opponent under pressure like yourself."

Appiah is certainly a man under pressure.

Ghana, who won all of their four African titles between 1963 and 1982, are desperate to end their 31-year wait for their fifth crown.

They were the only African side to advance from the group stage of the World Cup in South Africa three years ago when they were a penalty kick away from the semi-finals, and are currently ranked 26th in the world.

Ghana came through the group phase with two wins and a draw and apart from allowing the Democratic Republic of Congo to salvage a 2-2 draw after Ghana had led 2-0, they have looked sound enough.

Appiah was not too happy they took their foot off the pedal after going 3-0 up against Niger early in the second half in their final group match, but explained he knew why it happened.

"It's normal - if you are leading 3-0 you will be more relaxed but my players started playing the ball around in their own half and gave away possession and we cannot do that against Cape Verde. They have the players to punish us."

On paper, Ghana against Cape Verde is a mismatch but the four-times champions are not taking victory for granted.

"No-one is underestimating Cape Verde for a moment. If we do that, we will lose and you know where you find yourself then," defender John Pantsil told the conference.

"We know it is going to be tough, but we are ready to go, and like the coach said, we are confident we can make it through."

Appiah said everyone in the squad was fit, confirming that influential midfielder Mubarak Wakaso had recovered from his knee injury and could even start in midfield alongside the highly impressive Christian Atsu, who replaced him against Niger on Monday.


  • lordzee says:
    February 02, 2013 03:05 am
    The score will be Ghana 4 Cape verde 1. Their coach can invite Jose Mourinho, Ferguson, Obama and Bin Laden Ghana will still win.
  • Chuku says:
    February 02, 2013 03:16 am
    I know Ghana can win. Asamoah Gyan needs to step up his game to get Ghana into semi
  • kantoose says:
    February 02, 2013 04:24 am
    Hey you this chuku guy are you are Ghanaian or a Nigerian? becos sumtymes you speak with wisdom like a typical Ghanaian but othertimes you speak with your ass like a typical....
  • steve says:
    February 02, 2013 06:48 am
    @Kantoose now who is speaking with his anus like a typical Ghanaian? i think is you fool, respect ur fellow man!!
  • steve says:
    February 02, 2013 06:49 am
    THE LAMENTATION OF KESHI 1. gathered in the burning bush against the Ethiopians of the eastern Desert, Keshi, the leader of the delegates gave directions to the people, but they listened not. 2 And Keshi knowing what awaited him at Abuja knelt down in his heart and cried unto the heaven saying "My God, my God, please do not forsake me, give me only one chance." 3 As soon as he spoke those words, the Lord heard his cry, and the Holy Spirit descended on the burning bush in the south of Africa where the men had gathered and said to Moses the Son of Victor, "Moses, go yea forth into the 18 yard box of the Ethiopians." 4 And Moses hearkened unto the voice of the lord and ran into the 18 yard box of the Ethiopians. and behold, a defender of the Ethiopian Army brought him down and caused a penalty. 5 And when this had happened, Keshi knew that the lord had heard his prayers and used Moses to cause a big scare for the Ethiopians. So he beckoned unto Moses to open his ears to the voice of the spirit and heed the commandments of the lord. 6 And the spirit came unto Moses again, saying "Moses, play ye the ball into the left corner of the Ethiopian net. And when Moses had done this, the Eagles recorded their first goal in the burning bush. 7 And the spirit drove Moses into the 18 yard box again and caused another great scare in the defense of the Ethiopians which made the keeper of the Ethiopian army attack him unwisely and got a red card from the Moroccan Judge of the southern Court. 8 When this had happened, the people could see the hand of God on Moses. And Keshi knowing the way of the spirit, said unto Moses "because the lord had used you to deliver the people of Nigeria out of the hands of the deadly Ethiopians, you shall go forth again and take the penalty. 9 Thus, as the lord would have it, Moses brought down the Armies of the Ethiopians by placing the ball beyond the reach of the make-shift goal keeper who the Ethiopians had brought against him. 10 And when Mikel the son of Obi saw this things, he became jealous and said in his heart "see this small boy, for him mind, e go dey think say him play pass me now because say e score 2 penalty and I miss 1. I go soon do ham watin drogba do Torres. Then him eye go clear." 11 And when the draws were made, it was said that the Super eagles of Nigeria would go to war again with the eagles of Ivory coast, where Drogba the son of Didier was captain 12 When Keshi the son of Stephen heard these words, he cried unto heaven and said "My God, My God, Why has thou forsaken me? For he knew that the defeat would be mighty, else the lord send a Prophet. 13. And the lord of host hacken to Stephen the son of Keshi , the shepard of his flock, that thou shall defeat the people of Drogba from the land of Ivory, that thou little son of Moses whom i have used ealier to dethrone the people of Ethiopia shall be the pinacle of your victory!!!!
  • Faisal says:
    February 02, 2013 06:54 am
    This is supposed to be an easy game for Ghana, but this is very typical of Ghana, where we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and the nerves of the players end up getting the better of them. Ghana has got the easiest path to the final this time around, if we can't beat Cape Verde and the winner of Burkina Faso vs Togo, then we have no business thinking we deserve to win this cup, Period!!
  • Ijahman says:
    February 02, 2013 07:14 am
    Steve you are very interesting but you cannot mock God. For ''thou shalt not mention the Lord thy God's name in vain''. This is one of the ten commandments given to us.
  • steve says:
    February 02, 2013 09:08 am
    @Ijahman, point of correction, i did not mention the name of God in vain.We pray during and after a match and that is Nigerian ritual, so what makes you think that what i stated is not correct?...i am more christian than you think and i love my religion!!