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Soccer News of Tuesday, 29 January 2002

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Black Stars Dream Quarter Finals

Ghana's Black Stars say they will have no problems qualifying for the quarter-finals in Wednesday's match against Burkina Faso in Mopti.

Indeed, midfielder Abdul Razak Ibrahim, one of four players from Ghana's squad that reached the World Youth Championship final, says they run out 2-0 winners.

Ghana's Abdul Razak Ibrahim Ibrahim believes confidence is flowing again after a spirited performance against South Africa.

"We did not do ourselves any favours in our first match against Morocco but against South Africa we showed we can play a bit," said the Empoli player.

"Against Burkina Faso, we will win 2-0 with me scoring one of the goals to qualify for the quarter-final," he predicted.

And despite the controversial ejection of Bayern Munich defender Sammy Kuffour from the squad, Ibrahim says team spirit remains excellent.

"We had some problems with the authorities but everything has since been resolved, our morale is high again. This match will prove it."

"Once we can get Burkina Faso out of the way, we will go all the way to the final," he confidently stated.

The team's utility player, John Pantsil, is equally bullish.

"We're not thinking of the quarter-final or semi-finals," he said.

"Mali and Cameroon have been doing well at this championship but neither team can stop us from taking the cup back to Ghana."

Indeed, the mood is so buoyant at the moment the team believe they will next be on their way to the 2006 World Cup Finals.

"We have our future in front of us. If we can keep our confidence level up, we can qualify," said midfield fulcrum Michael Essien.