Hosts look to star

Ghana will face an expectant home crowd when they play Guinea.

     Michael Essien will be at the heart of the Ghanian midfield [AFP]
    But the experienced French coach, in charge of a team at a record sixth Nations Cup tournament, expects a tough assignment.

    "They have an excellent squad," he said of Guinea. "A lot of attacking players. They are very skilful. We are aware that it will be very difficult against them."

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    Ghana are counting on the 40,000 crowd at the newly-refurbished stadium to get behind the side.

    But they will have to shift around their midfield after injury ruled out captain Stephen Appiah.

    Winger Sulley Muntari is likely to be brought into the middle, with a first starting berth on the left given to 18-year-old Dede Ayew, the son of former Ghana captain Abedi Pele.

    A key figure for Ghana now is Muntari's fellow central midfielder Michael Essien, who missed out two years ago because of injury.

    Le Roy, whose side will also face Morocco and Namibia in Group A, said he has told his men to relish the experience of the tournament, saying: "Not many players will get this opportunity."

    Guinea, who arrived on Wednesday, have spent the last two weeks training in Spain and beat Sudan 6-0 and 1-0 in two friendly matches in Malaga.

    "It is no easy task to play against the host nation in a tournament like this, but it is also an honour to compete in the opening match," Guinea coach Robert Nouzaret said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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