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Football: Ghana coach rouses players, hints at Annan call-up

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Coach Kwesi Appiah was part of the Ghana team that won the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations, and 31 years later on the eve of Wednesday's semi-finals he has told his players now is their time.

"What have I said to them? I've told them I was lucky to be one of the players to come back with the title, now they need to write their names in history.

"Then they can say in the future 'I was part of the team that won in South Africa'."

Appiah, speaking at the team's hotel, believed there was not a great deal to choose between his team and semi-final opponents Burkina Faso.

"We are both from west Africa and that means our style and mentality is almost the same.

"So, at this level, success will depend on the little things.

"Looking at games of Burkina Faso, they do well defensively, in midfield they are very very good, it's not going to be easy.

"They've got some really good players we are automatically going to pay attention to, but I'll keep all that in my head!"

Osasuna midfielder Anthony Annan could make his first start of the competition, the Black Stars boss revealed.

"Anthony got injured at our training camp in Abu Dhabi but is recovering well.

The Spain-based player commented: "It depends on the coach whether I play or not."

Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah is relishing the prospect of taking on the over-achievers from Burkina Faso.

"I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals, we're here to achieve something and will fight to the end."

Like so many here he has been impressed with his teammate, goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda, who pulled off several top-class saves to see them through 2-0 in the quarter-finals against Cape Verde.

"I played with him in 2008, I know what he is capable of. This is his opportunity to show what he's got.

"I'm not surprised by his performance, so I give him credit. But having said that, he's part of the team -- we're all trying to do our best."

Annan added: "This is Fatawu's time, but we're not finished here yet and we're encouraging him to keep it up."

Ghana, champions in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982, are featuring in their fourth successive Nations Cup semi-final.

Victory for them or Burkina faso will set up a final date at Soweto's Soccer City stadium on Sunday against Nigeria or Mali, who also face off on Wednesday in Durban.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130205/football-ghana-coach-rouses-players-hints-at-annan-call