Sports News of Wednesday, 11 December 2013
FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah speaks on the draws for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals scheduled for Brazil next summer.
He tells JOY SPORTS in this interview that the Black Stars can reach the last four of the tournament.
Draws for the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been made with Ghana logged with Germany, Portugal and United States of America in group G. Is this the group of “death” or what do you think?
Yeah, my prayers before now have been that Ghana should get an easy group so they can navigate their way through to the second round. I think God has answered my prayers. Yes, Germany and Portugal are top teams but I believe the Black Stars will qualify from the group which is what we want.
Weah, that sounds you are pleased with Black Stars group avoiding host Brazil?
Nobody would want to be in the same group with the hosts if it comes to choice. Brazil are the hosts and also a strong team. Germany are also a traditional football country. Note that we're not afraid of them but we can only respect them and I'm sure they too will respect us. But it’s good we were in the same group so that when we eventually meet at some stage of the competition, Ghana would have garnered confidence.
So you're confident Ghana will qualify from the group...
Why not, the World Cup has already started though one would say it’s still six months away. With sustained preparation, why not? The first match is very important and, of course, yes, they will qualify ahead of Portugal and USA.
You mean Germany and Ghana will come through from group G?
Yeah, though Portugal is not a cheap team but yes Black Stars will overcome them.
So what is your target for the Black Stars at the World Cup, quarter final or semifinal?
(Laughs) Quarter final or semi-final, why not, we can get there if we work hard like I said before and believe in ourselves. Yes if we believe. At the same time we've to work hard by preparing very well. This is World Cup, not a friendly game. We don't have to say we still have time to start preparation. If we put our acts together, prepare well and have that self belief, why not, semi final is not an impossible target.
As a former World footballer who has previously played in Europe, what are the basic ingredients needed by the Black Stars for a positive performance in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?
With Hard work, focus, concentration and belief. There's need for hard work in terms of preparation before and during the championship. The players must remain focused and concentrate on the assignment. World Cup is the height of players’ career and every one aspires for it though not everyone will be lucky to be part of it so if you are lucky to get the opportunity, you give it your best and above all, you must believe in yourself, in your ability and quality.
In the final stage of preparation for the World Cup certainly one would expect Coach Appiah to call up some of the players doing well in their clubs but who were not part of the qualification series.
Why not, they are Ghanaians so they are eligible to play for their country as long as they are in shape.
Thank you George Weah for sharing some moments with us
You are welcome my brother. Let's all stand behind the Black Stars for a successful Brazil 2014 World Cup campaign.