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Dodgy pitch not a distraction ahead of Burkina clash - Ghana coach Appiah

Published on: 05 February 2013

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said the controversial Mbombela Stadium pitch in Nelspruit will not be a distraction for his players in Wednesday's African Nations Cup semi-final against Burkina Faso.

Much of the grass had been killed by a fungus in the build-up to the tournament after recent heavy rains and had to have a coating of sand, leaving it hard and patchy in a major embarrassment to organisers.

Appiah sought on Tuesday to deflect attention from the issue.

"We need to compete whether the pitch is good or bad," he told reporters.

"My players are all professionals and used to different conditions. Back home in Ghana we play regularly on far worse pitches. We need to take our mind off the pitch issue."

The local organising committee have not allowed any teams to train on the field. Usually each country is allowed one training run on the match pitch on the eve of their first appearance at a venue but that has been denied those teams who have played at the Mbombela Stadium.

Burkina Faso have played all five of their matches in the lead up to the surprise semi-final appearance at the venue, which sit on the outskirts of Nelspruit amid rolling hills.

Burkina Faso coach Paul Put, perhaps in a bid to score psychological point, has made much of his side's familiarity with the conditions.


This article has 4 comment(s), give your comment
  • Viper says:
    February 05, 2013 12:56 pm
    Disappointed,thought the headlines this morning will read 'Venue change for Ghana Burkina Faso match.Such a terrible pitch with torrential rainfall,we can only hope..That said,Asamaoh Gyan is even far potent than the Burkina Faso strikers,thats the good news,the bad news is their midfielders are tough tackling,combative midfielder, the worse thing that can happen is be in a scrappy game with them.We have to keep the ball and pass,pass,pass, patient build-up.We can't get into a scrappy game with them so no aimless long balls to the forward players,with a pitch like that,it will suicidal and certainly no stupid back-passes to the goal-keeper.
  • African Consciousness says:
    February 05, 2013 01:37 pm
    I agree with you the Coach has to factor in the pitch conditions in his player selection. Players that have the best fitness and the legs to run on the sandy pitch and not be tired. Players that have excellent ball control and can make accurate short passes. The team must be more compact with their spacing so they can maintain possession with short accurate passes. Limit the long ball so they can retain possession. The players must triangle and go to the ball to make Burkinabe do all the running. There must be absolute control on defense to avoid errors that can be exacerbated by the poor pitch condition. Tomorrow the Black Stars must play their best passing game and they will beat the Stallions. If Coach Put decides to put all his players in the midfield then Ghana must go over the top with accurate long balls to Gyan and Adomah or Asante, players with incredible speed. Vorsah is good with accurate long balls to the forwards. Atsu, Wakaso and K Asamoah should get some good through passes to the Strikers and wingers to finish. Regardless of the pitch Ghana will prevail. Use the Nima and Bukom boys to win this match. Long live Ghana, Go Black Stars, all West Africa all the time at AFCON 2013! Consider a all WAFU team for Qatar World Cup. The best players from West Africa on one team. Great Britain did it for the Olympics. Lets tear down the artificial boundaries and the Colonial mentality, Remember the Mali Empire? The Ghana Empire? The Songhai Empire? The Benin Empire? The Oyo Empire? The Ashanti Empire? These all covered vast areas and population of West Africa. It can be done by a confederacy and done voluntarily, like the European Union. All Africans are brothers. Africa must unite.
  • jimmy says:
    February 05, 2013 02:13 pm
    The boys need so inspiration figure in camp...CK Gyamfi, Osei Kofi, some old top players. GFA do that please.
  • kuukuphilly says:
    February 05, 2013 02:21 pm
    If we can play on gravel that pitch should not be an issue.