Soccer News of Friday, 31 January 2014
Ghana coach Maxwell Koandu hails his side's progression to the finals of the Africa Nations Championship after defeating Nigeria in the semi-final.
A 4-1 victory during penalties after overcoming Kwabena Adusei's red card in the 64th minute capped a determined team performance by Ghana as they held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw after extra-time.
Ghana will now play Group C opponents, Libya in the final on Saturday in Cape Town at 1800 GMT.
"I must confess that I'm very very happy for myself, my family and the players. I'm very glad with all that happened.
"I'm very excited; not for beating Nigeria but my joy is about taking this team to the finals. It was a very tough game but it was just a matter of strategizing very, very well before you can withstand the pressure that the Nigerians gave us," Konadu told www.ghanafa.org after the game on Wednesday night.
The Ghana coach says his team showed their character after brushing aside rivals, Nigeria, who had a man advantage for more than an hour.
"The boys were over stretched, there were muscle cramps here and there and we had a record which didn't help us at all. It made us to change our game plan totally so I think that it was difficult but the boys proved once again that mentally, they were very strong and they were also very tactically disciplined when we changed our system," he said.
Even with a man down, Konadu insists, Ghana had everything to play for as they reached their second final in the third-edition of the competition.
"It was a very tight game but there was no point in time that we felt like giving up. I knew no matter how tough it was, we would at least get our goal so we needed to concentrate and defend very well. We waited and waited and the goal didn't come. What rather came was a red card and we didn't give up.
"The Nigerians over stretched [us] and the boys deserve lots of commendation for showing a strong mentality and proving themselves. These boys have made a massive statement with their performance against Nigeria.
"I'm very proud of these boys for making themselves and the nation proud. There is something in these boys and people must be patient with them to see what they can achieve."