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Sports News of Saturday, 3 December 2016


Baba Rahman: Time for Ghana to win AFCON ...

Black Stars left back Abdul Baba Rahman is not giving up on the 2018 FIFA World Cup despite Ghana’s disastrous start to the qualifying campaign which has seen the team picking only one of a maximum six points.

He maintained also that it was about time Ghana ended over three decades of continental drought by winning next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon, having come close to winning the coveted trophy as runners-up at last year’s competition in Equatorial Guinea.

In third position on their World Cup group log behind Egypt and Uganda and five points off the group leaders, it appears the Stars face a herculean task to qualify for the Mundial in Russia.

Nonetheless, Schalke 04’s Rahman remains positive that the World Cup campaign is not a lost cause yet with 12 more points up for grabs.

“I think we still have a chance, we have four games to play and all are must-win games. And we hope [to benefit] on other results as well, so I believe we have a chance to come back,” Rahman told the Graphic Sports in an exclusive interview at the Veltins Arena last Sunday, moments after Schalke earned a 2-1 home victory over SV Darmstadt 98.

Rahman, 22, was a member of Avram Grant’s side that lost the Nations Cup final to Cote d’Ivoire last year and is still dreaming of ending Ghana’s log wait for a fifth continental title. Ghana’s fourth Africa Cup of Nations triumph dates back to 1982, many years before the oldest member of the current Stars team was born.

“Two years ago was my first time at the African Cup. When I got into the team, the vibe was to get the trophy for Ghana.

“We got to the final but unfortunately things didn’t work out well for Ghana. It’s still very much our dream and as players we discuss it and want to work harder next year to win it.”

Rahman, who joined the Royal Blues this season on loan from English Premiership side Schalke, has settled well with the German club after struggling to hold a regular position at Stamford Bridge following a £21.7m move from German side Augsburg.

Although an unused substitute in last Sunday’s game, the youngster has made 10 appearances for Schalke this season and says he is working hard to earn more playing time and the confidence of their coach Markus Weinzierl.

“I work really hard and as you can see, the coach is doing a rotation between the Europa Cup and Bundesliga as well. I wish I could play every week but he’s doing a rotation for the players to have enough rest and get more power because of the situation we find ourselves,” Rahman explained to this paper why he was not worried sitting on the bench occasionally.