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22.10.2008 Football News

“We won't undervalue our opponents”- Pappoe

“We won't undervalue our opponents”- Pappoe

The Vice President of the Ghana Football Association, (GFA) Mr Fred Pappoe says the Black Stars would not undervalue any of their three opponents drawn in Group D of the final phase of the joint FIFA World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Ghana has been pitted alongside Mali, Benin and Sudan in Group D and the Vice President who was at the draw at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland believes each of the opponents is tough.

He told GNA Sports in a telephone interview from Zurich on Wednesday after the draw that “It amazes me to hear people describe our group as cheap. But that is their opinion; we at the GFA think otherwise.”

Mr. Pappoe said underestimating any team will be a recipe for disaster and re-echoed the Black Stars' policy of respecting every opponent.

“We have come this far not [by] underrating opponents and this is not the time to change that mentality.”

The Vice president underscored the need to appreciate that Mali has a team capable of standing the test of time, Sudan's positive transformation coupled with the performance of local clubs, Al Hilal and Al-Merrikh and the impressive growth of Benin football to avoid making wrong conclusions.

“There is no cheap team in Africa today and I hope people have not forgotten that Sudan did very well to get to this point.

“Mali's pedigree must be a common knowledge by now; and for Benin, we all saw how they almost spoilt our party at the Zenith Four Nation Tournament in Accra last November and the fact that they were one of the first three teams to qualify prior to the penultimate matches of the first round.”

He however told GNA Sports that Ghana stands a chance of making her second appearance at the Mundial but emphasised that “you don't qualify for the World Cup just by wishful thinking, but by adopting the right attitude from the players and all of us.”

Ghana begins the campaign against Benin on March 28 in Accra in a meeting that would be their first since the last duel in November when the Black Stars came from two goals down to whip the latter 4-2 in a billing prior to the Nations Cup.

The Black Stars has won three of the five previous meetings against Sudan. Both teams last met in Accra in a World Cup qualifier on 15 July 2001 when Ghana won 1-0 to avenge a similar loss in Omdurman.

Mali has won only one of the nine meetings, lost and drawn four times respectively against Ghana.