28 January 2013

Africa: Ghana Seek Win Against 'Difficult' Niger

Ghana go in search of a second successive win at the Africa Cup of Nations but coach Kwesi Appiah says Niger will be their toughest group opponents.

The Black Stars are top in the Group B standings after making a marked improvement in their 1-0 win against Mali following an opening 2-2 draw in Port Elizabeth with DR Congo.

But Appiah's side will be up against a Nigerien side seeking their first win at the finals on Monday.

"We've played two games and for me the next game is the most difficult one," Appiah said.

"Looking at the Niger team, they are tactically very disciplined and I see it as a game that will be very difficult for us and for that reason we need to prepare very well."

A win for Ghana would ensure top place in the group and a quarter-final in Port Elizabeth on February 2 against the runners-up from Group A.

"I have total confidence in my players and so far they are doing very well. I always believe in taking match after match and see how it goes," the Ghana coach said.

A draw will be enough to take Ghana into the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations while a win ensures they top Group B.

Mubarak Wakaso, who is suspended and injured, misses out while Richmond Boakye and Anthony Annan are doubts after missing training on Saturday.

Niger could still qualify if they win, however if they do and Mali draw with DR Congo then it would come down to a mini-table within the table.

Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan: "I didn't know much about them until I saw their first game against Mali. They are a very organised team and they fight - I think they can cause harm to us but we aren't looking at that. We are Ghanaians and we are looking forward to a win.

"So it's not going to be easy but we'll be trying our hardest to get a maximum three points and qualify for the next stage."

Niger coach Gernot Rohr: "For the motivation it [playing Ghana] is wonderful. We are a little country of football and we are playing against a big country of football - so we will have a beautiful game.

"We had a lot of chances to score a goal, we could have beaten DR Congo - now we hope that against Ghana we will play a good game.

"I've seen that the crowd [in Port Elizabeth] was with us and it was a good atmosphere in the stadium and I hope my players will do the same against Ghana."

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