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Football | Ghana

Sulley Muntari © Backpagepix

Muntari set for start against USA

Sulley Muntari could return to a lead role for Ghana in Saturday's World Cup second round game against the United States days after being threatened with being sent home after an altercation with his coach.

Milovan Rajevac said the skilful but tempestuous midfielder, a recent Champions League winner with Inter Milan, was being considered for a possible starting berth for the match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

"He's performed well in training and I will see overnight whether he will start from the beginning," said Ghana's coach at a pre-match news conference in Rustenburg on Friday.

Muntari was officially reprimanded five days ago following an outburst after the game against Australia in Rustenburg on June 19 where he was only used as a substitute.

Rajevac sought to have him expelled from the squad but relented after an apology and pleas from other players, team officials told Reuters.


Muntari has had several run-ins with Ghanaian soccer authorities over the last nine months. He was left out of the African Nations Cup squad earlier this year after refusing to play in a warm-up friendly in November.

But a change in demeanour has seen Muntari now back in favour. He was also brought on as a substitute against Germany on Wednesday when Ghana lost 1-0 at Soccer City but still qualified for the knockout phase.

The 25-year-old, who already has 54 caps for Ghana, was expected to take a lead role in their World Cup campaign after an injury to Michael Essien but was left out of the team for Ghana's opening match of the tournament.

Muntari was suspended at the 2006 World Cup for the final group match against the Americans, which Ghana won 2-1 also to go through to the second round.

Rajevac on Friday confirmed key defender Isaac Vorsah remained sidelined through injury but the two other centre backs, Jonathan Mensah and captain John Mensah, had recovered from knocks and would compete against the Americans.

Rajevac expects a taxing physical challenge from the United States, who increased the tempo of their play in the latter stage of each of the games they have played.

"Their opponents haven't known how to deal with them," he added.


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