John Mensah Assures, NO SHAKING!
John Mensah Assures, NO SHAKING! Website
John Mensah, despite having a torrid afternoon during which he saw a resilient Guinea side hitting the back of the net and colleague John Paintsil being stretchered off the field in his first match as captain of the Black Stars, has assured the nation there is no cause for alarm and the Stars remain focused on winning the ultimate a record equaling fifth Nation's cup. John Mensah, who helped the combative Stars inflict a last gasp 2:1 victory over the Syli Nationale of Guinea on Sunday at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, says although he and his colleagues were responsive to the pressure from the 22 million Ghanaians at home and those abroad to produce, they remain unfazed. He emphasised, that every player in the Stars camp was ready and able to play their best under the kind of pressure that often affects some footballers during big games like the on-going 26th MTN Cup of Nations. "I'm psyched for this tournament and I’m prepared to die for my country”, he told the Statesports in an exclusive interview at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra, where the Stars are being camped for the Ghana 2008. He, however, conceded that the contest would not be an easy task but “Ghana, as the host nation with a formidable squad of young talents, we’re the hot favourites to equal Egypt’s fifth time record”.The Stars captain, who plays for RC Rennes of France, said: “The African Cup of Nations is a tournament African players cherish very much. It is the African model of the World Cup and after emerging as the best African country in the Germany 2006 World Cup, we’re prepared to die a little for our nation”. Mensah, who took the captain’s band from injured talismanic inspirer Stephen Appiah, intimated that despite playing without their inspirer, the “Tornado”, they believed that it was the work of God that he should be rested in this particular tournament for future national assignments. “He still shares his ideas with us in camp and we cherish his love for the team and the nation”.The Stars captain led the team to beat Guinea 2-1 in their Group A first game at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra on Sunday. The goals were scored by Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari. The nerve-wracking match, which followed a colourful opening ceremony, saw the Ghanaians hitting the posts three times in the first half before an Asamoah Gyan penalty sent the nearly capacity Ohene Djan stadium roaring. The joy though, was short lived, as Omar Kalabane, whose mistimed tackle resulted in the penalty kick, headed powerfully into the Ghanaian net 10 minutes later to even the scores. It took the magic of a Sulley Muntari to bring the smiles back to the faces of Ghanaian fans with 30 seconds left on the clock. As at press time, defender John Paintsil, who was stretchered off after the match after reportedly feeling dizzy, was in stable condition and responding to treatment, according to team doctor Martin Engmann. Ghana meet the Brave Warriors of Namibia on Thursday and Morocco’s Atlas Lions on Monday to end the group stage matches. In other matches, Morocco hammered hapless Namibia 5:1, while La Cote d’Ivoire put a single goal past highest ranked Nigeria.