Annan vows Ghana will do Africa proud
Midfielder Anthony Annan has vowed that Ghana will do Africa proud when they fly the flag for the continent in their last World Cup 16 clash with the United States on Saturday.
Africa's only group-stage survivors have been inundated with
messages of support from fans across the continent and Annan said
the Black Stars will not let them down.
"I believe all African countries are supporting us and we are
not going to disappoint them. I believe we are going to make them
happy," he said on Friday.
"If we stay focused, listen to the coach and take our chances I
believe we are going to win."
Ghana's Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac, revealed that
experienced centreback Isaac Vorsah had been ruled out but said he
expects skipper John Mensah and teenage defender Jonathan Mensah,
who will cover for Vorsah, to recover from minor niggles in time to
Rajevac said the fact that the United States had unexpectedly
topped their group had given Ghana a great opportunity to reach the
"It is not going to be easy but the rewards are high so we are
going to fight and do our best to get to the quarterfinal," he
said. "It is a big opportunity for us."
Rajevac, who played indoor football in the United States in the
early 1980s, said he has been impressed by the never-say-die spirit
of Bob Bradley's squad, which was underlined by them coming from
behind to draw with both England and Slovenia, as well as by their
last-gasp winner against Algeria.
"If you look at where they scored the goals in the group, the
opponent never knows how to deal with them, especially in the last
half hour when they increase the tempo," Rajevac said.
"Until the final whistle you never know how to deal with
America. You saw that against Slovenia, they scored two late goals
and almost won the match.
"It is a 90-minute war on the pitch."
USA-Serbia relations may have been strained in the years since
the 1999 Nato bombing of Belgrade, but Rajevac appears to be very
pro-American, describing the time he spent in New York as the "best
years" of his life.
He also saw enough during that period to become convinced it was
only a matter of time before the United States made its mark on the
world football stage.
"I realised that a lot of kids love soccer, you have many women
playing. This huge quantity of people playing the game had to bring
quality and this World Cup shows it.
"America still has other sports that are more important for the
time being but it has grown into a football superpower."