5
Sports Features Thu, 31 Jan 2008

Ghana have pedigree to deliver

Ghana can go all the way and win the Africa Cup of Nations, their coach Claude Le Roy, has said. ?It will be very difficult to beat us. It was the same feeling I had in 1988,? the French coach told a news conference at the Ghana team hotel in Accra.

In 1988, Le Roy guided Cameroon?s Indomitable Lions to victory in the African Nations Cup in one of the highlights of his coaching career spanning three decades.

The coach, who turns 60 on February 6, will be hoping to celebrate with a second Nations Cup after previously failing in attempts with Senegal in 1992 and DR Congo in 2006.

Le Roy expressed satisfaction with the Black Stars? 2-0 win against Morocco, saying his side were the better technical and tactical team and had produced their best game of the tournament so far.

The Ghana coach, who on the opening day ranted and raved about the poor condition of the pitch saying it was the worst he had seen in all his coaching years and had affected his team?s passing game, this time round praised the standard of football saying it was one of the best he had seen in the tournament.

Le Roy has been under constant pressure from the fans who want nothing less than Ghana winning the African football diadem.

Some fans were asking for his sacking after Ghana struggled to beat Namibia 1-0.

?I think if we do not win this tournament a new coach will arrive to take over the team,? Le Roy said.

He signed a two-year renewable contract with the Black Stars in September 2006 and has however said he wants to see through his contract irrespective of how the Black Stars, perform.

The Nations Cup is a veritable death bed for many a coach. Senegal?s Henryk Kasperczak has already resigned following the team?s 3-1 defeat by Angola on Sunday, while Nigeria coach Berti Vogts is under increasing pressure to do so after a lackluster performance by the Super Eagles.

The Ghanaian camp has meanwhile made a public appeal for fans and the local media to stop criticizing the team and instead come out in large numbers to cheer them to victory. Le Roy said home advantage was the most critical for Ghana if they were to overcome expected stiffer competition in the knock out stages. The Black Stars meet Nigeria in the first quarter-final match on Sunday in Accra.

?Home support from the media and fans will give us a main advantage. I urge them to get behind us and give the players the confidence they need,? LeRoy said.

Criticism of players can get nasty in Ghana with the example of besieged striker, Asamoah Gyan, who received threats that were extended to his family by fans angered with his inability to score goals.

Asamoah and his brother, Baffour, packed up their bags ready to abandon camp over the threats and it took the intervention of the Ghana Football Association and sports ministry officials to convince him to stay.

President Kufuor of Ghana later appealed to the pubic to desist from making personalised attacks on the players.

Source: Nyende, Charles
Related Articles: