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Football | Afcon

Kwesi Appiah © Backpagepix

Fight for places excites Ghana coach



Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah says he is excited by the competition for starting places ahead of the opening Group B fixture on Sunday against the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"If I tell you that I know my starting team against DR Congo, I would be telling a lie because the competition for places in the first team has been intense," Appiah told a media briefing in this Indian Ocean city.

"There is competition everywhere in the team and no player can afford to be complacent as they all have to fight for places.

"We now have young talent who are competing and so anyone who finds himself in the first team has to take his chance."

Midfielders Christian Atsu and Mubarak Wakaso have forced their way into the team since the Black Stars finished fourth at thde 2012 tournament in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea.

Striker Richmond Boakye-Yiadom is the only injury doubt and he worked out mostly on his own during the final training session.

Ghana will face a Congolese team whose preparations for the tournament took a dramatic twist Friday when French coach Claude Le Roy denied reports that he had resigned, but slammed the treatment of his players by team officials.

However, Appiah does not expect the chaotic build-up to affect the Leopards.

"Were Le Roy not on the bench, I don't think it would affect the team because he has been working with them for some time," said the coach who played in the 1982 Cup of Nations-winning team.

"I have total respect for Le Roy because he was once my head coach and I also respect his team. They are very good and we do not expect an easy game but, at the same time, we have everything to match them.

"What is more important is that I concentrate fully on my team."

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