Ghana coach Grant unsure on Gyan fitness for final

Ghana coach Avram Grant is unsure whether injured skipper Asamoah Gyan will be fit for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast in Bata.

Gyan is nursing a pelvic injury received during a collision with Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara in the quarter-finals last Sunday and he missed stormy Thursday’s semi-final win over hosts Equatorial Guinea.

Former Chelsea manager Grant said the Black Stars did not train in Bata Friday so he could not assess Gyan’s recovery.

“We can’t say how he is because we could not even train (in Bata),” lamented Grant.

However, the coach said the Black Stars are motivated to rewrite history against the Ivory Coast on Sunday after losing the 1992 final to their west African neighbours on penalties in Dakar.

“They are very motivated, they do not need any speeches because we have come a long way as nobody gave us a chance. They will show this on Sunday,” he promised.

“We have improved with every game. Algeria and Senegal were considered better than us and this was a challenge for us.

“There is one more challenge — the last one in this tournament.

“They (Ghana) know how to fight and play football.”

Stand-in Ghana skipper and midfielder Andre Ayew said inexperience cost the team the 2010 Nations Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Egypt in Luanda.

“For the 2010 final, we had about 14 players from the U20 World Cup (of the previous year). In that final we were attacking and attacking, but we couldn’t score. We lacked experience,” he recalled.

“But Sunday’s final will be a good one for us. When you get to the final, you need to do everything to win.”

The 25-year-old forward has shone at this competition, scoring three goals. He attributes this to confidence boosts from his team-mates and the coach.

“I have tried to raise my game because I have been given responsibilities both on and off the pitch. It is due to the group and the confidence from the coach,” he said.

Photo Credits : AFP

Best still to come from Ghana – Grant

Ghana coach Avram Grant believes his side are only going to get better after they crushed Guinea 3-0 on Sunday to cruise into the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We are on the right way to being even better than today. Expectations of this team were not high but that doesn’t matter,” said the Israeli after the Black Stars won thanks to a brace from Christian Atsu either side of a Kwesi Appiah strike.

“Guinea are a very strong team technically, with lots of quick players in attack. Just as in every game we tried to stop them from playing their game and play ours.

“Our first goal was very good and the third goal was fantastic from Atsu. I don’t know if he meant it,” added Grant.

Atsu’s spectacular cross-cum-shot found the net to clinch the win and take Ghana into the semi-finals for the fifth successive Cup of Nations, and they will now take on the hosts Equatorial Guinea on Thursday for a place in the final itself.

“We prepare game by game. We did a lot of preparation for this game, and now we start to prepare for Equatorial Guinea,” added Grant.

“In a tournament like this it is very difficult to play against the home team, but every game is a challenge. I think they will feel good because they are playing at home.”

“I think we need to do much better than against Guinea. Anything can happen in football but we are prepared for any difficulties,” added two-goal hero Atsu.

Photo Credits : AFP

Avram Grant appointed Ghana coach

Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant has been appointed the new coach of Ghana.

The 59-year-old has signed a 27-month deal to take over from Maxwell Konadu, who had been in temporary charge since  Kwesi Appiah left in September.

He will start work on Monday and his contract will finish at the end of February 2017 – after that year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Israeli Grant has only six weeks to prepare the Black Stars for the 2015 Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea.

The Ghana Football Association have given Grant a target of “doing well” at the upcoming tournament – given his short time with the team – and to win the event two years later.

Ghana, who topped their qualification group for next year’s showpiece, will find out their opponents in Equatorial Guinea when the draw is made on 3 December.

The tournament will be held between 17 January and 8 February.

Source : BBC