Africa will enjoy Ghana-Nigeria showdown, says coach

2014-01-27 12:36

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Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu heaped praise on his “fighting” team who are now two victories away from lifting the African Nations Championship (Chan) title.

But he said that they would need to be on top of their game in their semifinal clash against west African rivals, Nigeria, at the Free State Stadium on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 8.30pm.

The Black Stars beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 in their quarterfinal tie last night courtesy of a Kwabena Adusei second-half penalty.

Said Konadu: “Few people had confidence in this team. It’s better to come as underdogs to a tournament than to come with the highest expectations. We have a group of players who can fight to the last minute. They believe in themselves and I like what I have been seeing from my players.

“We only need to plan and work hard for Nigeria, who are a powerhouse. But I think that Africa will enjoy this match,” he added.

The Black Stars have achieved the results in the tournament but have battled for rhythm and goals – they netted just four times from the same number of matches.

By contrast, the free-scoring Super Eagles have netted 12 times in the competition, including a remarkable comeback from three goals down to beat Morocco 4-3 in their quarterfinal tie at the weekend.

Konadu said: “We don’t plan to always score one goal, but [plan] according to the strengths and weaknesses of our team and our opponents.

“We just have to protect our goal area as much as we can. But we are defending well which is good and for me, a sign of a team progressing well.”

Meanwhile, the DRC team face being sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for throwing missiles onto the pitch in protest against the penalty awarded to Ghana.

Leopards assistant coach Guillaume Ilunga said: “I’m a coach and coaches don’t deal with supporters. Everyone shows disappointment in their own way. You must also know that vandalism is not a Congolese thing, it happens everywhere in the world.”

The Leopards will return home with qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco as their next challenge.

The DRC will also host the CAF Under-23 Championship, which is a final Olympic qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro showpiece.

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