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Sports News of Monday, 20 April 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

We wanted to prove a point – Stephen Appiah on Ghana’s 2006 World Cup success


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Pitted against two-time winners Italy, second and fifth-best countries in Czech Republic and the United States respectively, Ghana’s first appearance at the World Cup appeared more like a passive one where the country was just going to add to the numbers.

With Pirlo and Cannavoro at the peak of the careers, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky leading the Czech Republicans and the US with the Dempseys and Donavans of the world, a point was thought to be more than enough achievement for the Black Stars.

Ghana though blessed with some of Africa’s finest footballers then were considered novices in World Cup contest and were understandably written off by connoisseurs of the game.

But the Black Stars players which had Stephen Appiah as the leader had something up their sleeves.

Among the players, there was a concession that chances of making it out of the group were bleak but in that admission lied the mental fortitude to not just go and add to the numbers but prove a point that ‘the Brazilians of Africa football’ have arrived on the global stage.

Stephen Appiah who was skipper of the team details that among them was a firm belief that despite Ghana having an outside chance, they could do something huge with the right mentality.

And unlike many Ghanaians who threw in the towel after the first game which was a defeat to eventual winners Italy, the players knew they could make an impact after the game against the Azzuris.

According to Appiah, once that game was out of the way and the players now having a feel of the biggest football festival, the general feeling in the team’s camp was that they could do the unthinkable and indeed they did.

Not only did Ghana stun the rated Czechs but Gyan’s opening goal made history as the fasted goal in the tournament.

They will then go on to beat United States courtesy goals from Haminu Dramani and Stephen Appiah.

Stephen Appiah appeared on GTV Sports+ on Sunday and he revealed that the mentality of the players made the difference.

He said that prior to the World Cup, there was consensus among the players they were not just going to make up the numbers but make an impact and draw the world’s eye to Ghana.

“Most people don’t know but we actually agreed among ourselves that we were not just going to add up. We went to that World Cup to make history and that made the difference. Our aim was to do something and I think we achieved it because we were united.

“If you came to our camp, you would not see any difference between the young players and senior players because we were all one. We were united and played like a team so it was easy for us to come together”, he said.

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