Soccer News of Sunday, 13 January 2013
Kick off it at 16:30 GMT (4:30pm local time)
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Sports City (Abu ?abi (Abu Dhabi))
Starting line-up: Adam Kwarasey; John Paintsil, Kwadwo Asamoah, Isaac Vorsah, Jonathan Mensah; Derek Boateng, Solomon Asante, Rabiu Mohammed, Richmond Boakye Yiadom, Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu.
It’s been one week since Ghana started their preparations in Abu Dhabi towards the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and gradually, the countdown to the finals is on for Black Stars as they shape up.
Ghana’s players had not left the Zayed Sports Complex in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night where they beat Egypt 3-0 in a warm up game before minds were being focused on the their next opponents, Tunisia.
Kwesi Appiah is eager to see his Black Stars deliver an improved performance and hopes that they avoid any injuries, after Anthony Annan’s ankle injury scare when they play Tunisia on Sunday in another warm up match.
Despite their victory over the Egyptians, the Ghana coach is keeping his team grounded and only demanding improvements.
The meeting with Sami Trabelsi, a long-standing fullback for the Tunisia side just as Appiah was for Ghana will wrap up the pre-competition matches for both finalists.
Unlike Ghana, the Carthage Eagles have drawn their two friendly matches by the same scoreline 1-1, against fellow finalist Ethiopia and Gabon.
Though results might be considered meaningless at this stage of preparations, performances will continue to be the greatest concern for both coaches.
For Kwesi Appiah, his team selection will not be an experimental one but an opportunity to assess players at close-up considering the limited time a national coach gets to work with his players at the international level.
“The mere fact that the players are not with us makes it a little bit difficult,” he said as he hopes to utilize his squad fully and see how far they have come, one week into their preparations.
“Tactically, how we defend, how we attack and how we implement our set-pieces, that’s the most important thing.”
“It’s important that you identify things that were not going well.”
The results of such exercises might not necessarily matter to the Ghanaian coach but Appiah is mindful about the Black Stars’ approach to every game.
“I have always said any team that has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations is a very good team.
“So there is no way you can underrate anyone. In modern football, there is nothing good or bad. The most important thing is you prepare yourself very well for any game you play.”