Ghana’s Black Stars are keeping their feet on the ground ahead of Tuesday’s decisive Africa Cup of Nations Group C clash against South Africa after a dramatic win over Algeria.
On Friday, skipper Asamoah Gyan returned from a bout of malaria to sink tournament favourites Algeria in stoppage time in Mongomo as the Black Stars bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Senegal with a 1-0 success against the continent’s best team.
A win over South Africa on Tuesday will guarantee the four-time African champions passage to the last-eight of the competition, while a draw and Algeria failing to beat Senegal on the same night could also get them past the group stage.
However, Ghana coach Avram Grant said his “new generation” of Black Stars aim to do the business against a South African team who have impressed him.
“Nothing has been decided yet in this group,” insisted former Chelsea manager Grant.
“Yes, we may have beaten the number one team in Africa, but we now face South Africa, who qualified for this tournament ahead of a big team like Nigeria.
“They played very well in their first game even though they eventually lost (3-1) to Algeria. They are a fantastic team.
“We are a young team who have shown we do not give up and so we will come into any game to win it.”
The returning Gyan proved to be Ghana’s hero despite admitting to having “some physical problems”, and now the striker is looking ahead to the next game.
“South Africa have shown they are a very good side right from the qualifiers and so we do not expect an easy match against them,” he said.
“It was a team effort against Algeria, everybody working for everybody, and we will count on this again against South Africa.”
Meanwhile, Marseille star Andre Ayew declared that Ghana should not be written off as genuine contenders at this Cup of Nations despite not yet finding their best form.
“This is not the best Ghana, many of us like Gyan and I are not 100 percent fit, but we can do a lot more,” he said.
“Even after the win against Algeria, we cannot afford to get over-confident. We’re happy, but won’t take anything for granted. Algeria is past and next is South Africa. It will be a very tough battle on Tuesday.â€
He added: “Expectations back at home must now have risen, but Ghana have always dealt with the pressure even though it could be difficult.”
The Black Stars last won the Cup of Nations in 1982, although they have reached the last four of the previous four editions, even losing in the final to Egypt in 2010 in Angola.