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Soccer News of Thursday, 7 February 2008

Source: Ghanaian Times

Ghana-Camroon: Paintsil ready to fill Mensah's place

John Paintsil, Ghana's regular right back, is likely to partner Eric Addo in the absence of suspended skipper John Mensah for MTN Africa Cup of Nations semifinal clash against Cameroun in Accra today.

The team's French coach, Claude Le Roy tried out different combinations in training but looks to have settled on Paintsil in the centre while Asante Kotoko's 22-year-old defender Harrison Afful will step in at right.

"Paintsil is a good defender who has played in the centre before, has the height and is confident. I have been telling you. I have confidence in my players," Le Roy said after the team's training on Tuesday.

Paintsil also sounded confident, and relaxed despite the pressure of the match.

"Football is fine we have to cope with pressure and ready for Lions challenge. In fact it won't be any different from Nigeria match," he told

Afful was also ready for challenge as he was digging in tackles during the evening sessions.

"I am ready and feeling cool ahead of my first match in the tournament," Afful said.

Alhassan Illiasu, the other alternative in the centre, declared himself fit.

"I am nearly back to my best and ready if called into action," said the 26-year old defender who plays his club football with Saturn Ramenskoye in Russia.

"I wish the team good luck and I'm sure of a victory over Cameroun.

I will be back for Sunday's final," said. Mensah, who has a one match ban after being sent off for a professional foul on Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie last Sunday.