African hopes won’t put any extra pressure on Ghana ahead of World Cup match against Germany

By Enock Muchinjo, AP
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coach: Ghana under no extra pressure from Africa

JOHANNESBURG — No pressure or anything, but Ghana coach Milan Rajevac is hoping his team can give all of Africa something to cheer in the next round of the World Cup.

South Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria are already out of contention in the first World Cup in Africa, and Ivory Coast and Algeria’s chances of progressing to the round of 16 are slim. That leaves Ghana as Africa’s best chance of representing the continent in the knockout rounds.

Ghana leads Group D with four points, and needs to avoid a loss against three-time champion Germany on Wednesday to ensure it advances.

“By being the only African team that has realistic qualification chances, most of the African fans will be behind us,” Rajevac said. “It will give us extra motivation.”

Ghana opened the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Serbia and held Australia to a 1-1 draw. Germany thrashed Australia 4-0, but then had a surprising 1-0 loss to Serbia.

Serbia and Germany are tied with three points, but Germany has a big edge in goal differential.

“It’s good for us to be in this position,” Rajevac said. “It gives us a certain amount of satisfaction … But it doesn’t add pressure at all. Germany are ranked higher than us, yes, but we … are in a better place than the other teams in the group.”

Rajevac refused to say if Sully Muntari will start Wednesday’s match after the Inter Milan midfielder was reportedly reprimanded by team officials for an outburst against the coach following the match against Australia.

“All 23 players are fit and available for selection,” Rajevac said. “As of the starting lineup, I’m still discussing it with my colleagues.”

A feature of the match will be the rivalry of brothers Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng, who are on opposing sides. Kevin-Prince Boateng was born in Berlin and played for Germany’s youth teams before opting to represent Ghana. It also was Kevin-Prince Boateng’s tackle on Michael Ballack during the FA Cup final that knocked the Germany captain out of the World Cup.

But Rajevac doesn’t expect any family feuding to mar the match.

“We’ve often talked about this, it’s a creation of the media,” Rajevac said. “There is no problem at all. Even if there was a problem, Kevin is a professional and he knows how to deal with it.

“Even if he is brothers with Jerome, they won’t be brothers on the field.”

will not be displayed