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Sports News
Ghana will be African champions again: Coach 2/5/2012

NGOUNI: Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic has again declared his team will be champions for a fifth time despite scepticism on account of some indifferent performances at the Africa Cup of Nations.

"We are ready to win this competition. The people of Ghana should trust us, pray for us and we will respond accordingly," said the Serbian coach, who will pocket $200,000 as bonus if he leads the Black Stars to victory on February 12 in Libreville.

Speaking on Saturday he added: "We have many, many reasons to be optimistic.

"Good or bad performances, we may not have been fantastic, but we finished top of a very, very tough first round group with seven points.

"This (Sunday''s quarterfinal against Tunisia) is a special game and the players are motivated.

"In German and English newspapers, they say that Ghana have played the most purposeful game in the tournament because at any moment we know what to do on the pitch. For a coach, that means a lot to me."

He continued: "This is a very, very tough competition, most of the players play in Europe and the teams are really strong.

"We want to compete to win, not to leave a good impression. Senegal played good football but they finished with zero points.

"Tunisia and Ivory Coast may be smarter than us, but we are ready to win this competition."

Pressure has continued to mount on the Black Stars to end a 30-year trophy drought having last won the tournament in 1982.

However, Stevanovic maintained he does not expect any pressure to work against his team.

"I have always told any team I coach that all victories are by my players, while all other results are my responsibility," he disclosed.

The coach said that against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, the fans will be thrilled by an exciting match from two good teams.

"Tunisia are a very good, talented team, but the most important thing is that the fans will enjoy the game because they will watch two good teams in action tomorrow," he said.

"After the three games, we know each other very well.

"There could be some nerves because both teams want to win and qualify for the next round."

There could be some doubts over the availability of first choice goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

"If he cannot play because he has some problems, I believe in Daniel Adjei unconditionally," said Stevanovic.

"The team with the stronger bench will win this competition and so I''m counting on all my players."

Midfielder Anthony Annan, whose mother passed away on Thursday, will be available for selection after he opted to stay with the team.

"This is a very difficult moment for him, but it could also be a big motivation for him to fight for his mother, who I''m sure loved him to play for his national team. We all support him," said the coach.

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