Le Roy eyes fifth title

13 years ago

Ghana coach Claude Le Roy has said the 2008 Nations Cup hosts have every chance of winning their fifth Africa title next year.

The West African nation is one of the favourites, having been the only side from the continent to reach the second round of last year's World Cup.

Since the finals in Germany, Ghana have beaten Togo, Japan, South Korea and Nigeria in friendly internationals, raising hopes the Black Stars will win their first title since 1982.

"We have to win because if we don't, they will kill me," the Frenchman - half-smiling, half-serious, told BBC Sport.

"We know that Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast and maybe Mali have a lot of qualify and huge potential.

"As hosts, we want to be at the top of the tournament and we know it will be very difficult - but we have the potential to win the Nations Cup next year.

"The players, the management and the entire country are behind us and they are trying to do everything to make us win."

As part on their Nations Cup build-up, Le Roy invited five debutantes for Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly in Stockholm.

The Black Stars were missing key players such as captain Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien.

Midfielders Anthony Annan, Bernanrd Yao Kumordzi, Michael Helegbe and defender Alfred Arthur were promoted from the country's Olympic team, with Ekow Benson coming from the under-17 side.

Le Roy says many of the youngsters will feature prominently his future plans.

"I am very happy with their performances, especially Anthony Annan and Beranrd Kumordzi, but all the players showed they are ready to play for the national team," Le Roy said.

"I am confident they will have a lot of playing time with the national team in future.

"With the quality they have shown, I think they will be very important to the future of the Black Stars."

Ghana are trying to line up possible friendlies against Switzerland and Mexico as they continue their preparations towards next January's Nations Cup.

Credit: BBC