Ghana’s confidence has received a massive boost after they won what was billed as the toughest group at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, coach Avram Grant said.
The Black Stars finished top of Group C by virtue of a better head-to-head record against Africa’s number one ranked team Algeria, with the sides finishing level on six points while Senegal and South Africa were eliminated.
In Sunday’s quarter-final, Ghana could now face any of the four teams in Group D –- Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali –- who are all in contention going into their final games later on Wednesday.
Former Chelsea manager Grant, who only started work with the team in December, said the fierce competition in Group C has prepared them for whoever comes next as they seek a fifth successive passage to the semi-finals of the Nations Cup.
“They said it was the ‘Group of Death’ and we said it was the ‘Group of Life’. And now to top this group, which also had a South Africa team who played some excellent football and Senegal, who have so many top players around the world, has boosted our confidence,” declared Grant after a decisive 2-1 win against South Africa in Mongomo on Tuesday evening.
“We have shown a great mentality, a good attitude, especially after all that happened at the last World Cup (where Ghana crashed out in the group stage and were embroiled in a row over bonuses).
“So, to qualify from this very tough group has prepared us well enough for whoever we will face on Sunday.”
Ghana’s match-winning hero on Tuesday against the South Africans was Andre Ayew, who headed home late on to complete a memorable come-from-behind victory.
At one point on Tuesday, they looked destined to go out bottom of the group, but now the Marseille winger said the Black Stars are eager to go on and secure a place in the semi-finals once again.
“We won a very complicated group and we can be proud of this. But this is only the beginning and now we will try to go as far as we can,” said Ayew, the son of Ghana great Abedi Pele.
“There are four very good teams in Group D and any one of them will now face us. And we will be ready for this fight.”
Ghana will now move on to Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo to prepare for their last-eight tie as they look to end a long title drought in the Cup of Nations, which they have not won since 1982.