Current Stars Are Special –– Appiah
6/30/2010 1:35:13 PM -
Ghana's skipper Stephen Appiah has described the current crop of Black Stars players as 'special' and 'strange', saying they are naturally driven in a way many sides are not.
Reflecting on the values of what he calls 'a special team', he told fifa.com: "This Black Stars team is strange.
"If you go to (camps of) some of the teams, after a big victory like this (against the US), you'll see the players outside the lobby, drinking and going to bed late. But, in our camp, you won't even see the players outside.
After a big win you'll see us in our rooms, maybe talking to our wives, with our girlfriends or friends. We will be playing cards or listening to music.'
According to Appiah, who plies his trade with Italian football giants Bologna, this special feature of the team was good, as it would help them reflect on the previous match and maintain focus on the challenges ahead.
'We always stay in and focus. I think it's a good sign. The moment you think everything is going well and you start getting a cocky head, then everything goes wrong."
The 29-year-old noted that the camaraderie in the Black Stars camp was indeed heartwarming.
"You can see that there is no tension, no pressure. Always with smiles, singing and laughing - stuff like that. What I've learnt is the more pressure you put on yourself, the more things go wrong.
So, I have been telling the guys that they should be free [and that] nobody should even think about the games. Maybe a day or two before, then we have to focus on the game. But, for now, we're relaxed, training, laughing, singing, dancing. I think that's very important."
About reaching the last eight of the ongoing World Cup and therefore equaling the African record of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002, the former Juventus enforcer stressed:
"I think that history is always history. Now it's our turn. Now that we're there, it's history for Ghana. We hope that we can still better it by going to the semi-final.
And, for myself, it would be a great achievement because one day I would like to talk to my kids and explain to them what happened in South Africa in 2010."
The Black Stars of Ghana, the youngest team at the ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup, have defied the predictions of connoisseurs to remain the only surviving African team after the group stages.
After beating Serbia in the opening match of Group D, the Black Stars drew with Australia and lost marginally to Germany to progress to the Round of 16. And last Saturday they beat the US 2-1, after 120 minutes of a grueling encounter in which Stephen Appiah featured prominently.
By Mohammed Muniru Kassim, with files from fifa.com