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Sports News Sun, 22 Jan 2012

First-up win can boost Ghana - Mensah

Ghana captain John Mensah is positive his side will go far in the Africa Cup of Nations if they win their first group game with Botswana.

The Lyon defender said amassing three points in the opening game will help calm nerves as the Black Stars go into the Cup as title favourites.

"The first game is always important in every competition," Mensah said in an interview posted on the Ghana FA website.

"When you win your first game, it settles you down and gives you some added confidence. We have been working hard but we need to get the first game out of the way before looking ahead."

As Ghana look forward to hold the cup for a fifth time, the 29-year-old admitted they have a tall order to clear if they are to end their 30-year trophy drought.

"The expectation is high and we know it won’t be easy. But we are hopeful and believe we can win it. We came third in 2008, lost the final in 2010 and we are going again. It doesn't make it easy but I believe we can get there (finals and win the title)," he said.

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