Friday 24 March 2017

Ghana out to keep Africa dreaming

Ian Chadband  in Johannesburg

As the hosts wallow in gloom over the likely exit of the Bafana Bafana before their own tournament even reaches its business end, Ghana increasingly appear to be cast in the role of potential saviours for Africa at the continent's first World Cup.

Nigeria are out, with their fabulous goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama having finally run out of miracles; Cameroon's campaign is in danger of imploding after defeat to Japan and a request from senior players that coach Paul Le Guen should reconsider his team selection for today's game against Denmark; and Ivory Coast, with Brazil up next, face a huge battle to make it through the 'group of death'.

But the Ghana Black Stars, the only winners so far among Africa's six representatives in the tournament, are revelling in the idea that a continent's hopes rest on them. Kwadwo Asamoah, the Udinese midfielder, said after the 1-0 victory over Serbia: "We have the continent behind us. We can't let the nation and continent down."

Meanwhile, Asamoah Gyan says the team will enter today's match against Australia at Rustenburg "like a wounded lion".

If so, they may find themselves faced by a lame kangaroo with just one kick left in its armoury. Australia were awful in their opening-game thrashing by Germany and failed to live up to the Aussie public's demands that they never give in.

"They're a very competitive nation with a great sporting tradition," said the Ghana coach, Milovan Rajevac. "They'll do everything to get a win."

Four years ago, the Ghanaians reached the last 16 only to lose 3-0 to Brazil. "Now our people expect more from us," said Gyan, the team's totem after his late penalty against Serbia. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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