Ghana revs up for World Cup

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:40 IST

After four African Cup of Nations titles and decades of trying to qualify for the World Cup, Ghana has finally made it to the big one.

Ghana revs up for World Cup

Accra:

After four African Cup of Nations titles and decades of trying to qualify for the World Cup, Ghana has finally made it to the big one.Ghana, one of four African teams that will make its debut at the World Cup in Germany next month, took advantage of South Africa's poor showing in qualifying to make it to soccer's biggest event.Now, of course, the goal is continue to win.''There is a lot of determination from the boys and the technical team to see this dream realized,'' Ghana team spokesman Randy Abbey said.The Black Stars, 50th in FIFA's rankings, play in a tough group, however. They open against Italy, then follow with matches against the Czech Republic and the United States.Abbey said Ghana plans to just ''take things one after the other,'' and noted that the team is lining up bonuses and other incentives to push the players toward victory.Still, some fans in Ghana are hoping for big surprises.''In every soccer tournament there are uncertainties and so there will be in Germany,'' said Richard Avornyotse, a sports columnist for a number of local papers. ''Ghana is considered the underdog in our group, but we can draw from history and cause upsets, as Cameroon and Senegal have done before.''Cameroon opened the 1990 tournament with a victory over defending champion Argentina, and then went on to become the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals.Senegal did the same thing in 2002, beating defending champion France in the tournament's first match and then reaching the last eight.''Our weakest point is how to convert scoring opportunities and I hope if we improve on this. We can upset the Italians in the opening,'' Avornyotse said.The Black Stars will likely go to Germany without one of their key players - striker Isaac Boakye. The Arminia Bielefeld forward re-injured his knee last week and said he may have surgery.Still, the team will depend heavily on Chelsea defender Michael Essien and captain Stephen Appiah.Ghana's defense been strong in qualifying, however, giving up only four goals in 12 games. The team is coached by Ratomir Dujkovic, a Serbian who took Rwanda to its first African Cup in 2004. (AP)



Topics : Football
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