Sports News of 2013-12-05

Appiah prays for injury free Black Stars

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah insists his greatest concern is to have an injury-free squad as he waits for the outcome of Friday's 2014 FIFA World Cup draw.

With the top pot of seeds made up of hosts Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, World champions Spain, Switzerland and Germany, the unseeded Black Stars are expected to draw a former winner in their group when the draw is made in Bahia.

Appiah says once a team is part of the 32 qualified sides, anything is to be expected when the draw is made.

"Automatically, once you find your way through the qualifiers to this stage of waiting for the draw, you can only wait and see who you are paired with and start planning," Appiah told ghanafa.org.

"It's the scheduling of the fixtures and plotting your way around it with your squad that is crucial.

"You will definitely meet some teams ahead of you and some former winners. It's the biggest stage of world football and so that should be expected."

The Black Stars coach is counting on every Ghanaian player as he peruses through his tall list before selecting his final 23.

"My greatest concern is to have all my players available and without any injuries. I pray for that. I hope we arrive in Brazil with a solid unit and we will take it from there.

"I know what my players can do and they have the qualities to show their credentials once again," the Ghana coach said.

The World Cup will be Appiah's second tournament as Black Stars coach, having led the team to fourth-place at the last African Nations Cup.

Having being a part of Ghana's team at the previous World Cup in an assistant coaching capacity where the Black Stars missed the semi-final narrowly, the former international knows what the tournament means as he leads Ghana's third-straight appearance.

"It's [World Cup] greater in terms of feat as compared to other tournaments. It's great to be a part of it but more importantly, we are not just trying to be a part of it.

"We have an ambition and on paper, every team is strong but in football, just one kick can make a difference in 90 minutes.

"We need to make that difference," he said.