Many local football fans and pundits have placed high hope and confidence in Ghana’s senior national team, Black Stars, to make Ghana proud in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
As the 29th edition of AFCON kicks off on Saturday 19th January with 16 teams, many are those who trust the Stars to clinch the country's 4th trophy, albeit the last time Ghana won the coveted cup was about three decades ago: that was in 1982 when Ghana beat Libya 7-6 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in Tripoli, and the Black Stars have since failed to relive the memories of victory.
But for some Ghanaians who wait to watch the Black Stars in action on Sunday in their first group game against Ghana’s former coach Claude Le Roy’s DR Congo, unity will be the magic that will see Ghana’s soccer representatives win the trophy.
A cross section of Black Stars fans whose opinion was sampled, pointed out that with fresh limbs in the team wanting to make names, the team will go far.
Others were upbeat that history has shown that on three occasions that Ghana had won the trophy they were handled by local coaches, and with the current technical handler being a Ghanaian, people are banking their hopes on him to bring the trophy home.
“Our chances are very, very bright,” a high-spirited Ghanaian fan declared.
Ibrahim Saani Daara, Spokesperson for the Ghana Football Association, told Joy FM’s Top Story with Francis Abban on Friday that the Black Stars “are poised and prepared for action”.
He side aside Richmond Boakye Yiadom, who is now recuperating from not too serious injury he picked during the team’s training at Abu Dhabi, all the squad are in good form. However, he remarked, Yiadom has started training but was yet to start kicking.
The Black Stars are expected to have an hour training session tomorrow at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to acclimatise with the condition there ahead of Sunday’s encounter with DR Congo, Saani Daara announced.
Seasoned sports analysts Karl Tufuor told Joy News the team will shine in the tournament citing their “preparedness to die for one another”, a spirit that was lacking in the previous squad.
He said if they go into the tournament with the same attitude, they will “go very far”.
For Jeffery Asare, a seasoned sports journalist, they are well disciplined, united, focused and are able to maintain possession, adding “they play with so much determination” as well as creating a number of chances.
Nevertheless, the closest Ghana Black Stars have been to winning the cup was in 2010 when Egypt’s Mohamed Nagy Ismail popularly nicknamed Gedo scored the only goal to pip us to the trophy in Angola. In the last edition, surprise package Zambia swept us aside in Gabon in the Semi-finals to win the trophy.