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23.11.2007 Sports News

Fifth African Cup Bid , Wake-up Call For Stars

The President of the Ghana Football Association, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, has described the Black Stars' performance in the Zenith Four-Nation Tournament as a good wake-up call and boost to the nation's 'host and win' dream, with less than two months to the big kick-off to the Ghana 2008 Africa Nations Cup.

“The Stars' victory has given the 'host and win' dream a boost, and now that Chapter One has been accomplished, we are left with Chapter Two, which is the Nations Cup,” the FA boss declared confidently in an interview with the Graphic Sports yesterday.

“It was a good performance by the Black Stars because coming back from two goals down to win the match 4-2 shows how good and strong the team is”.

But judging from the ordeal the Squirrels of Benin subjected the Stars to in front of their fans at the Ohene Djan Stadium last Wednesday, Mr Nyantakyi was quick to admit that the journey to the title would be not be that smooth.

“If Benin can play like this, then I can say that this Nations Cup will be one of the most competitive in the history of the competition,” he stated.

The ever-smiling lawyer, who found himself in a dreamland when the Stars trailed the Beninois 0-2 in Wednesday, warned the Stars against complacency during the Nations Cup.

He, however, sympathised with returnee striker, Baffour Gyan, who was stretchered off in the 20th minute for sustaining what looked like a muscle tear and hoped for his early recovery following his impressive performance.

For participating in the mini-tournament, each Black Stars player is expected to be over $9,000 (over ¢80 million) richer in appearance fee and a share of the $70,000 prize money.

According to the FA President, each player is entitled to a $6,000 (almost ¢60 million) appearance fee, while the prize money will be shared among the final 22 players who were in camp.

He revealed that the Stars would embark on a 12-day intensive camping in the United Arab Emirates from January 3-15 during which they would play two trial matches against local club sides before returning home to begin the search for the fifth Africa Cup conquest.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo