Accra, Dec. 10, GNA - Mr Kwesi Nyantakyie, Acting Chairman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), has said that Ghana is capable of advancing beyond the group stages at the 2006 World Cup Tournament scheduled for Germany, despite the seemingly difficult group it finds itself in.
The Ghanaians are paired alongside Italy, the Czech Republic and The United States of America in the draws held on Friday. Speaking in an interview from Germany after witnessing the draw in the plush Neue Messe Exhibition Centre in the German city of Leipzig, Mr Nyantakyie said playing alongside the likes of Italy, the Czech Republic and the United States of America (USA) could be a daunting task as all the three nations are no mince meats.
He said Ghana was determined to improve upon Cameroon and Senegal's quarterfinal records at the competition in 1990 and 2002 with a superlative performance to underscore their aim to register their presence at the bigger stage.
The FA capo said the immediate focus of the team, was to put in the needed preparations for the impending Nations Cup slated for Egypt beginning January 20.
He said the competition formed part of the plans towards the World Cup in Germany whilst envisaging a glittering performance at the Nations Cup, to serve as a tonic for the ultimate.
Mr Nyantakyie said the team would begin preparations for the World Cup in May, two months after the nations cup and expressed the hope that Ghana would live up to expectation.
Mr Fred Pappoe, Chairman of the Black Stars Management Team, said the draw had provided Ghana with the opportunity to settle scores with teams like Italy.
The Italians fought back to draw two all with Ghana in the last Olympic Games held in Athens last year with two second half goals. He was optimistic that the occasion would present the Stars expected to feature most of the players that met Italy in Athens the platform to prove to the Europeans their true worth.
"I believe we can go past Italy and USA but the Czech Republic remains a headache, though they are also surmountable". Mr Pappoe declared.
Mr Kojo Bonsu, an aspiring president of the GFA, in a reaction to the draws said though the group looked tough, adequate preparations would see Ghana through to the next stage since the Black Stars had the needed materials to do the job.
"Italy could be a major problem for us, but I think with adequate preparations there will be no cause for alarm". Ghana will play the first group game against Italy in Hanover on June 12.
Both Ghana and Italy had on many occasions shares honours at Under-17, 21 and 23 level competitions organised by FIFA.