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14.05.2019 Cup of Nations

AFCON 2019: 'Ghana Not Under Pressure To Win AFCON', Says Former Black Stars Skipper

By Samuel Ekow Amoasi Appiah
AFCON 2019: 'Ghana Not Under Pressure To Win AFCON', Says Former Black Stars Skipper

A former Black Stars skipper, Stephen Appiah says the team is not under pressure to win the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt though it is their main objective.

After winning Africa's most prestigious tournament in Libya in 1982, the Black Stars have struggled in lifting the ultimate again.

The African football powerhouse have come close in winning the ultimate in 1992, 2010 and 2015.

However, the technical handlers of the Black Stars have been charged to end the country's trophy drought or will be shown the exit.

But the former Juventus midfield kingpin who captained the team at the 2006 AFCON in Egypt where Ghana made a disappointing first-round exit, said he saw the task of winning the prestigious trophy for the fifth time as a difficult one.

“Our goal is to win the AFCON. We are not under pressure though. Personally, since my playing days, I usually don’t get under pressure. I have being under pressure only twice, that is the game against Burkina Faso in Kumasi and another was against Cape Verde,” Appiah said on the sidelines of the launch in Accra last Friday of this year’s MILO U-13 Championship.

“I realised that when I was playing, I just wore the jersey and went and played, but now that I am part of the technical team I see it to be difficult, the feeling is not the same,” he noted.

However, he asserted that it was their duty [as technical handlers] to encourage the players to work hard for glory.

“We will try and advise and encourage the players to do their best,” he added.

Coach Kwasi Appiah, a member of the national team which won Ghana’s fourth and last African title in Libya in 1982, now faces a challenging task of leading the team to end Ghana’s 37-year continental drought in Egypt.

Ghana has been placed in Group F with defending champions Cameroun, Benin, Guinea-Bissau in the 2019 AFCON which runs from June 21 to July 19.