Ghana to ‘raise game’ as they target fifth Nations Cup

 

Ghana National team

Ghana have dispelled doubts over their chances of winning a fifth Africa Cup of Nations title following their lacklustre display againstGuinea. The Black Stars topped Group D on Wedneday, but only after drawing 1-1 with the Guineans, who were reduced to 10 men in the second half.

 

Assistant coach Kwesi Appiah says his side will improve for Sunday’s quarter-final againstTunisiain Franceville. “We will rise to the occasion because with the Ghanaian character, we will always handle the pressure”

 

“In our opening game againstBotswana, we did not play at our level. But for the second game againstMali, we played at about 70 per cent of our capacity.

 

“Every game is different and we will treat them so.”

 

John Pantsil, who captained the four-time champions against bothMaliandGuineain the absence of John Mensah, said he expectsTunisiato prove tough opposition in the last eight.

 

“This is a crucial and tricky game,” the full-back said. “It won’t be easy becauseTunisiaare a very good team, who pass the ball around very well.”

 

Ghana are buoyed by the news that Mensah will be fully fit for this quarter-final, after a thigh injury forced the Black Stars captain to watch the Guinea game from the bench. The defender scored the winner in the 1-0 defeat ofBotswanaprior to his red card, so prompting his suspension from the win overMali, but his return will help against forwards like Issam Jemaa and Youssef Msakni.

 

Ghana, who won the trophy in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982, have been studying the Carthages Eagles as the West Africans seek to end their 30-year wait for another Nations Cup title. “We have watched video tapes ofTunisia, and they are a very good team,” Appiah added. The teams last clashed in a 2006 friendly, which the North Africans won 1-0.