Sports News of Saturday, 6 December 2014
Ghana midfielder Afriyie Acquah has laughed off suggestions that the Black Stars will suffer in the Group of Death at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea next month.
The Italy-based player admits that the four-time champions are in a tough group, but insists they will defeat all their opponents because the Black Stars are better than all the other three teams.
The Black Stars were handed a difficult African Nations Cup draw on Wednesday, grouped with fellow World Cup finalists and Africa’s top team, Algeria.
Black Stars’ worst fears were realised as they were also drawn alongside African powerhouses Senegal and South Africa in Group C; fittingly dubbed the ‘Group of Death’, for the showpiece event.
The Black Stars will have a daunting task to overcome the odds, especially against Algeria, who are ranked no. 1 on the continent after their fine form in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Algeria won five of their six AFCON qualifiers in the quick-fire three-month qualifying campaign.
South Africa finished top of their group in which holders Nigeria were eliminated while Senegal edged out record-winners Egypt.
Despite being placed in the tough group, Acquah believes the Black Stars will top the difficult group insisting they are the best-placed team in the group.
“‘Group of Death’, indeed! Difficult #AFCON2015 draw. Ghana will advance; we’re better than everyone else in Group C.” Acquah wrote on Twitter.
This is one of the toughest groups in the tournament, with the likes of Ghana looking to restore their pride after their disgraceful exit at the World Cup.
Recently-appointed coach Avram Grant has only six weeks to prepare the Black Stars for the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea which will be held from Jan 17 to Feb 8.
Grant held a string of management positions in his native Israel, including four years as coach of the national side.
The former West Ham United manager said his ambition for Ghana was long-term and would do everything he could to make the Black Stars team succeed.
Ghana’s team will be based in Mongomo with Bata, Ebibeyin and Malabo hosting the other group games.
The opening game will be in Equatorial Guinea v Congo on 17 January.
Below is the 2015 Afcon group:
Group A: Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Congo
Group B: Zambia, Tunisia, Cape Verde, DR Congo
Group C: Ghana, Algeria, South Africa, Senegal
Group D: Ivory Coast, Mali, Cameroon, Guinea