Ghana's new coach braces for Congo cracker

AFP, Wednesday 16 Mar 2011

Ghana’s Serbian coach Goran Stevanovic faces a tough test as he prepares the Black Stars for a Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo on March 27, and a friendly against England

Goran Stevanovic

The coach, appointed in January, has already guided them to a 4-1 win over Togo in a friendly match played in Belgium last month.

Ghana is scheduled to face the Congo in the qualifier in Brazzaville with a lot hanging on the outcome with regards to their qualifying for the 2012 Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The coach has selected an experienced squad, most of whom played in the 2010 World Cup finals where they bowed out on penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

Much of the talk in the build-up to the game has been overshadowed by the high-profile friendly against England - who fared worse than Ghana at the World Cup losing 4-1 to bitter rivals Germany in the second round - on March 29.

Fred Pappoe, the vice president of the Ghana Football Association, however, said the Congo match ranks number one in importance.

"For the Ghana Football Association, the Congo game is our number one priority because it is an important and competitive qualifier and we have made that very clear from day one," he told AFP.

"I clearly understand the excitement behind the England match. It is the first time the two countries are meeting at senior level," he said.

With barely two weeks to the game, the English FA said all tickets have been sold out.

"England’s game with Ghana on Tuesday 29 March has now completely sold out," the FA said on its website.

"No further tickets will be made available for the game now and there will not be any tickets for sale on match day, so we urge supporters not to travel unless they have a ticket for the match in Wembley," it said.

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