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Football | Ghana

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 start.

Rajevac said the fact that the United States had unexpectedly topped their group had given Ghana a great opportunity to reach the last eight.

"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."

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