Ghana’s new coach Avram Grant on Thursday warned fans of the burden of expectation after his side was given a tough draw in next year’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals. The Black Stars line up in Group C with Senegal, South Africa and Algeria for the competition, which gets under way on 17 January in Equatorial Guinea and runs through until 8 February.
The former Chelsea boss Grant told a news conference in Accra, Ghana that he was “very happy” to take on the job as national team coach and described the task ahead of him as a “big challenge.”
“I like to win and we will do everything we can to win the 2015 African Cup of Nations but that is not the main thing,” he said in his first public comments since his appointment was confirmed on 27 November. “It has been mentioned that it’s the ‘Group of Death’ but I must say we want to live, not die.”
Grant beat four other international candidates to replace Kwesi Appiah, who was sacked in September after Ghana’s poor 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil. Ghana failed to advance beyond the group stages and were rocked by indiscipline which led to the suspension of striker Kevin-Prince Boateng and midfielder Sulley Muntari. Grant has yet to say whether he will bring back both players.
“The door is open for everyone,” Grant added. “They need to show they are willing to play. If they are willing to sacrifice then the door is open to them. I will select players based on quality, strong character and their willingness to sacrifice for the nation,” said Grant.