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29.01.2006 Football News

Appiah doubtful for Ghana's next game

By Mark Gleeson
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CAIRO - Ghana captain Stephen Appiah faces a battle to get fit for Tuesday's vital African Nations Cup match with Zimbabwe in Ismailia.

A foot injury suffered in his side's 1-0 victory over Senegal, a result that catapulted the World Cup finalists back into contention in Group D, has left the inspiration midfielder doubtful for the game and indeed the rest of the tournament.

But coach Ratomir Dujkovic has confirmed that Samuel Osei Kuffour will be back after missing the match against Senegal in Port said on Friday with a thigh injury.

Roma defender Osei Kuffour himself told reporters that he was fit for the game, which Ghana must win to ensure they get through to the quarter-finals.

Ghana clawed themselves back into contention with their hard-fought win over the Senegalese after losing their opening game to long-standing rivals Nigeria when they conceded the winner in the last five minutes.

Against Zimbabwe, Osei Kuffour said Ghana needed to show some patience and respect for gritty opponents who have been competitive despite losing both of their two games in the group.

Coach Charles Mhlauri said Zimbabwe were determined to leave the Nations Cup with points and were treating the game against Ghana as a "personal cup final".

"We are now going to try and get one win and therefore we are taking the game against Ghana most seriously," he told Reuters.

All four teams in group D are still in contention for a place in the last eight, including Zimbabwe whose two matches have both been lost by 2-0 scorelines.

Nigeria and Senegal play in the other match at the same time in Port Said.

The match between Ghana and Zimbabwe in Ismailia will be the only one played in the town's stadium during the tournament.