Ghana Team Fact Box

2010-05-11 11:31
revious appearances in finals: 1

Nickname: The Black Stars

Best performance: Second round in 2006

Coach: Milan Rajevac was an unknown quantity when he took over as coach of the Black Stars, his appointment heavily criticised by Ghana's media. It has been his first coaching assignment outside of his native Serbia where the 55-year-old previously worked at Red Star Belgrade. Ghana are hoping he will deliver the same as compatriot Ratomir Dujkovic, who took Ghana into the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup finals in their debut appearance.

Captain: Stephen Appiah

Key players:

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie
Age: 24
Position: Striker
Club: Al Sadd
FIFA World Cup Qualifier appearances: 3
Goals: 0

A promising striker and versatile winger, Quincy will look to fill the big shoes of injured team mate Michael Essien, and prove his worth to the Black Stars, for whom he was largely ignored during the qualifying process.

Sulley Muntari
Age: 25
Position: Midfielder
Club: Inter Milan
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances (2006): 3
Goals: 1

A crafty midfielder who once had trials at Manchester United and spent a season at Portsmouth, during which they won the FA Cup in 2008. Muntari was the subject of a controversy over his fasting earlier this year during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, when Inter coach Jose Mourinho said he was lacking fitness and energy and put him on the bench.

Asamoah Gyan
Age: 24
Position: Striker
Club: Stade Rennes
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances (2006): 3
Goals: 1

Blighted by injury over the last two years, Gyan has finally been able to get some consistency in his game and been among the leading goal scorers in France's Ligue 1 this season.

FIFA world ranking May 2010: 27

How they qualified:
Ghana were the first side to qualify from the African preliminaries, securing top place in their group with two games to play. They had expected a tough test from Mali but in June won away in Bamako to nullify the threat of their west African rivals and from there on it was an easy coast to the finish line. Ghana lost their 100 percent record only after already securing qualification when they used experimental sides in their last two group matches.

Prospects: A confident showing in their debut outing at the last World Cup suggests Ghana will be one of the real African contenders. They are heavily reliant on Essien, Muntari and captain Stephen Appiah, and battle to score goals, but are a side that oozes with confidence. 
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