Soccer News of Saturday, 8 September 2012
Date: 8 September, 2012
Competition: 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier
Venue: Accra Sports Stadium
Time: 15:30 GMT (3:30PM local time)
Making it to the 29th edition of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations is just four months away. But the fate of the participating sides with the exception of the hosts is yet to be decided.
Ghana is among the 30 nations battling in the final round of qualifiers for a place in next year's finals in South Africa.
The Black Stars have to decide their place through a home-and-away round of knockout qualifiers left to determine the 15 teams that will join hosts South Africa in the finals.
And with a first-leg home fixture against Malawi coming up on Saturday at 15:30GMT at the Accra Sports Stadium, the Black Stars will be looking to having a go again at the tournament after reaching the semi-final stage in the last three finals.
It is such a challenging qualifier which has to be determined over two legs as Ghana target a good first leg result.
"When the competition reaches a stage like this, every side is prepared for it. The tie is decided over two matches. And over two games, it doesn't matter the size of a country, it's about the preparation, determination and hardwork of your side that will get you through," Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah told www.ghanafa.org ahead of the game on Saturday.
Appiah will be welcoming back Asamoah Gyan from international break, and the Al-Ain striker is expected to lead the line up-front.
Gyan, who ended his six-month break from international football two months ago is returning for his first match on home soil in a year and has welcomed the pressure that will greet his return to the national team.
“I appreciate that (pressure),” Gyan said. “It’s a teamwork, I work for the team, I make sure I do my job.”
“I do appreciate what people are saying. It doesn’t put pressure on me. Talking about football, we got ups and downs.
“If you can go through all this things then you are ready to play at anytime, in front of the crowds and everybody.”
But Kinnah Phiri is confident that his Flames will be up for the battle too.
The return leg will be played on the weekend of October 12-14 and the 15 winners compete in the finals in South Africa next January along with the host nation.