Schalke midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has hailed Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah over his provisional World Cup squad announced on Monday.
The German-born Ghanaian said the team is stronger than the World Cup 2010 squad with the return of Milan midfielder Michael Essien. Ghana are in Group G with Germany, USA and Portugal.
Boateng noted that the Black Stars are now in a better position to beat Joachim Low’s men in Brazil due to experience. He said the four-time African champions can become champions of the world, but it will take a great deal of discipline, especially in their opening game against the Stars and Stripes.
“Every group is a group of death. We have two very, very strong opponents. But you also mustn't underestimate the USA. But that's why you are qualifying, to be able to mess with the best. It is nice that this already starts in the group. I am looking forward to it,” the 27-year-old told Goal Germany’s Hassan Talib.
“It is very important that Essien is back. He was a key player we lost. That way our midfield will get much stronger, I believe. Thus, we also have a chance to win against the Germans. Already at the last World Cup, we were one of the few teams that caused problems for Germany.”
Boateng added: “We are even stronger than 2010. We have more experience and it is very important that Essien is back, that gives us a real boost. Is the semi-final the goal? I don't know. I don't want to set any goals. I don't want to say I want to reach the semi-finals or like our president said: 'Becoming world champions.'
“If we play disciplined and concentrated game we have the chance to be better than 2010. There are a lot of factors. We need to win the first group match against the USA. You can only do that with discipline. And that's what we need.”
The former Milan star was full of praise for coach Appiah, adding that his philosophy works well for the national team, despite his young experience.
“Coach Kwesi Appiah has a totally different approach to the team. He was born in Ghana, speaks the language. He likes having a few older players around that help him a bit. He is a young coach, didn't coach many teams yet. And I believe, this synergy in the national squad is very good.
“We have to become world champions (is what people in Ghana think)! That is very clear, they want us to become world champions. The whole continent awaits that time that an African team will win this title. These are the hopes in Ghana. Everyone is praying for this and then let's see how far we will go. You want to make the country happy, but it's not that easy to become world champions.”
Send your news stories to and features to . Chat with us via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.