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Sports News of Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Rahman's AFCON in the balance, says Ghana boss Grant

Abdul Baba Rahman Abdul Baba Rahman

Ghana head coach Avram Grant stated Baba Rahman's prospects of playing any further part in the Africa Cup of Nations are "50-50" after the left-back suffered an apparent knee injury during the opening 1-0 Group D win over Uganda.

Rahman, who is on loan with Bundesliga outfit Schalke from Chelsea, left the field on a stretcher having twisted the joint awkwardly shortly after Andre Ayew put the Black Stars in front from the penalty spot.

Grant saw his side labour for long periods during the second period and he felt a playing surface featuring sanded areas that cut up from kick-off played its part.

"About Baba we need to wait and see, I don't know," he told a post-match news conference. "It's 50- 50, we will see in the next day what will happen.

"I am happy for the three points, we can play better but the result is more important than everything in a competition like this.

"We missed two or three good opportunities but I am happy for the win. We can improve our game. That's what we need in a big tournament.

"It was not easy to play on this pitch. Our game is to use one or two touches. It was difficult in the second half to move how we used to move."

Uganda boss Milutin Sredojevic felt his side were overawed by the occasion during the opening period and, with the country's first AFCON appearance since 1978 at risk of slipping away from them, he conceded some stern words were needed at half-time.

"I need to say in the first half we had an element of stage fright," he said. "They scored from one mistake that is very hard to explain.

"At half-time we have been fully aware that we are on the big stage. It needed man management and an awakening of every player, injecting belief inside them that they could play.

"We played with two, three and then five strikers, risking everything. It did not go our way.

"I must congratulate Ghana and Avram Grant for winning - football is about putting the ball in the net.

"I believe our team has shown that our level of fitness is enough for this competition but there are levels of the technical and tactical aspects that we need to improve in front of the goal."