Soccer News of Saturday, 16 March 2013
Sellas Tetteh is back with at Orange CAF U-20 African Championship after leading the Black Satellites of Ghana to victory in 2009.
The Ghana coach shrugged off the tag of favourites going into the opening day of the tournament taking place in Algeria.
“That is okay for others and those who choose to look at it that way but we certainly don’t see it like that at all. All teams here have equal chances of winning and we will not approach any match thinking we are favourites.
"Yes we have prepared well, yes we know our strengths and we are ready to give it our best and God willing and all else going our way, we would like to succeed,” he said.
Tetteh went on to say that the first match is crucial and in Egypt they have a formidable opponent, so he expects a tough encounter.
The Ghanaian side spent time in Italy and Spain preparing and in Spain they beat Navarra B side 3-2 and drew with Barcelona B side 1-1.
Tetteh said he expects to face a vastly improved and more polished Egypt side from the one his charges beat 3-0 earlier on during preparations.
“We know a bit about Egypt but for sure they are a good side that passes well and are technically sound. Part of our preparation has been on mental strengthening and as coaching staff we have drilled the boys on mental toughness which l know will be a factor in this tournament,” he added.
Meanwhile Tetteh’s opposite number Mohamed Saad was equally confident of putting on a credible performance on Saturday against Ghana. “It will certainly be a stronger side that faces Ghana tomorrow and contrary to what many might be thinking, the events back home will spur these boys to do well in this tournament. Ghana is a big name in African football and always does well so we are aware we are up for a difficult game but we have prepared with that in mind. The players know what is at stake and how we will go about it.” The Egyptian U-20 captain, Ramy Rabiaa echoed the sentiments saying they players want to turn a not-so-appy situation in Egypt into a happy one with qualification for FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"To do that we need to reach the semis and that is our main goal. Ghana we know is a good side but so are we and we will be ready for this game on Saturday.” Sellas Tetteh spoke of the importance of not losing the first match as it often determines the rest of the participation.
“You want to make the fewest mistakes and take your chances in the opening match. A good start sets you up well and in our group there is also the tough match against the hosts. In our case we meet Algeria in the last Group game and hopefully by then we will not be worrying about qualification at that stage.
"As hosts, they have the home support and have had long period to prepare so usually hosts do well and you don’t want to play them in last group match needing a win to make semis,” the Ghana coach asserted.
Ghana and Egypt is the second match in a double-header opening day matches to be played in Ain Temouchent. Kick off is at 20h30 local time (1930 GMT).