Paintsil: Black Stars must believe
John Paintsil was a seven-month old baby when Ghana last won the Africa Cup of Nations but he hopes that the current squad can roll back the years to end a long wait.
The Black Stars defender will be playing at his sixth Africa competition after making his tournament debut in 2002.
Paintsil has seen many ups and downs within this 11-year period at the competition with the Black Stars, yet there is one thing that he desires and the nation craves the most, winning the final.
“It will be nice to win the African Cup for our nation,” Painstil said after Ghana’s first training session in Port Elizabeth. “We will try to compete.”
The 31 year-old defender is one of the most experienced members of the squad and was in the Ghana team beaten to the trophy by Egypt at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations final, won bronze in 2008 and finished fourth in last year’s competition.
Paintsil has been part of an evolving national team since 2002 in Mali and he believes the current squad which includes 10 debutants are ready to compete.
“It’s part of the game,” he said. “New players will always come in. We were all new at a some point.”
“There is competition in the team and everybody wants to play. Whoever gets the chance will die for the nation.”
The Black Stars, four-time winners will start their campaign on Sunday, 20 January when they take on DR Congo in Group B which includes Mali and Niger.
For Paintsil, no side will come easy but he expects the Black Stars to believe in their quality throughout the competition.
“Any team against Ghana puts up a fight, we expect that.” “We have to believe in ourselves.”