WE ARE READY FOR NIGERIA
When the going gets tough, only the tough get going, says Ghanaian goalkeeper, Daniel Agyei, quoting an adage to butress the level of his team' preparation for the weekend match against Nigeria. He said that Black Meteors were not living any stone unturned to cancel the two goals deficit inflicted by Nigerian Under-23 team when both teams file out this weekend in Kumasi in a return leg of the All Africa Games qualifier.
Ghana's Under-23's goalkeeper, Daniel Agyei, expressed optimism in their abilities to overturn the table against Nigeria. The Black Meteors lost the first leg 3-1 but Agyei boasted that the tie is not over yet.
Agyei, 21, was a member of the Ghana's Black Satellites team that won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009. On his team's readiness for Nigeria, he said: 'We have intensified preparations since returning from Nigeria. We expect a tough opposition from them. Also, scoring two goals is a huge task but we are ready for them.
I am convinced we can deliver on Sunday. Agyei explaining more on how his team was beaten in Benin said: 'We started well and even led at half time. But the Nigerians returned strongly in the second half and took their chances. We played very well and it was unfortunate we lost. Football is full of surprises; sometimes you don't get the results you desire. Agyei, however, believed that the absent of some of their players may have a drastic effect on the team, but he's optimistic that Ghana would triumph in Kumasi.
'We are ready for the task ahead. However, after series of training, our belief has been strengthened by the performance of the new players invited by the coach. Every member of the team is capable of aiding our quest. Meanwhile, Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro FC, Ukraine) and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy) have confirmed their participation and their presence will greatly boost our chances of qualification. Playing in Kumasi will make a big difference. It is always a great feeling to play at the Baba Yara Stadium. Personally, it would be my first game in the national team colours in Kumasi and I'm looking forward to a great debut. The Kumasi fans are special and their support will spur us on to much needed victory.
On what impact the traditional rivalry between the two countries will have on the game, he said: 'Ghana-Nigeria matches are always tension-packed and this weekend's game will not be different. We are bracing up for the challenge and are determined to carry the day to achieve qualification. I am appealing to the fans to throng the stadium and cheer us to victory. Their support is crucial and we hope not to disappoint them.
Agyei, however, said they were not scared of Nigeria. ' I have a lot of respect for them, but none of their players scare me. With my experience at the FIFA World Cup and other tournaments, no player scares me. After missing out on the Olympic Games, we have banged our hopes on the All Africa Games to present a fantastic package to our fans and all Ghanaians. We cannot afford to miss out on another major tournament.