After their well-documented heart-ache at going out of the 2010 World Cup to Uruguay, Asamoah Gyan tells us why Ghana are the team to beat at the 2012 African Cup of Nations.
Q: At the last African Cup of Nations, Ghana surprised everybody with the amount of talented young players coming through. Who should they look out for this time round?
A: I think this time around many, many people will be concentrating on Ghana, because of what we did in the World Cup. We went there as underdogs, to prove ourselves even though we are one of the strongest teams in Africa.
Now, that shouldn’t be the case because there are more countries who are coming to win as well, it will be more difficult. I think Ghana is one of the favourites.
Q: With Michael Essien being out injured last time around, there was a lot more pressure on a senior player, how much did you relish this responsibility? Did being one of the more senior players help you?
A: Yeah, Michael is the leader in the team. Unfortunately he was out for so long and it hurt everybody that he wasn’t in the team. Sometimes even his name itself can bring problems to an opponent, and now he’s not in the team.
When talking about the Ghanaian team, we are very united in camp, we don’t differentiate who is the big player, we are all the same. Any time we go on the field, we don’t care who we are going to play against, we can play against anybody and do well.
Q: You lost in the final last time around to Egypt, how can Ghana do this year? Do you need to do things differently?
We have a new coach now, and different tactics. I don’t know the type of tactics he’s going to use this year, but we’re going to see what the coach wants to do, and to abide by his tactics, because we want to bring the cup to Ghana.
Q: Because Egypt and Cameroon haven’t qualified this year, does it give Ghana encouragement to win?
Yeah, it gives us great encouragement but also pressure. Just because Egypt, Cameroon and Nigeria are out, people will think that it will be very easy for Ghana. We have a lot of giants out there, Ivory Coast and Senegal are in great shape, they have the top strikers in Europe now. Morocco are looking dangerous, so we have to be careful.
There’s a lot of pressure, because everyone is waiting for a cup back home. It brings more challenge to the team, we have to work hard and see what happens.
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