Confederation of African Football (Giza)
25 January 2012
Tournament co-favourites Ghana emerge with maximum points on a day the Orange Africa Cup of Nations completed its opening games of group matches.
Ghana who with Ivory Coast is touted as co- favourites for the title were relived to pick up all three points after debutants Botswana put up a brave fight against the Black Stars during the latter's 1-0 win in their Group D clash.
Ghana captain John Mensah who scored his first ever goal for his national team in the last qualifier game against Sudan scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute when he knocked in from a Emmanuel Agyemang Badu corner kick.
John Mensah the goal scorer then turned villain when he earned a straight red card for a professional foul on striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana who was through on goal told Cafonline.com afterwards that he was over the moon after his goal, "I am really happy and the goal meant a lot to me, it's not every day l score but we play as a team and l know the strikers will get the goals for us but for me if l can score too then it all good for the team.
We played well in the first half but l think in the second we sort of relaxed a bit and they, Botswana played well and gave us a hard game" said Mensah
After the game Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic said "We controlled the game until the red card for Mensah. We created some chances but they closed down the game with almost the entire team behind the ball but all said and done it was very important that we won our first game of a tournament that has already produced some surprises." Concluded the Black Stars coach
Meanwhile striker Asamoah Gyan also told Cafonline.com that he was relieved to have come through with all three points, "It was tough game for but l think we did well especially in the first half.
Botswana is a good side and they made it difficult for us today. As l said before this is a tournament of surprises and we were lucky to win today.
We knew it was not going to be easy and they defended well indeed so what l mean by saying we were lucky is that the experience we have as a team in the end the difference and that is what saw us win, said Gyan.
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