We need to find a way past Malian defence – Appiah

Tournament co-favourites Ghana have had a helping hand in keeping in mind the dangers of complacency and underrating opponents. This has come in the form of results going against Senegal another side expected to go far at the 28th edition of Africa Cup of Nations.

Ghana’s assistant coach James Kwasi Appiah told Cafonline.com ahead of their Saturday game against Mali in Group D in Franceville that they are not taking any chances against any team at all.

Cafonline.com What are you expecting from Mali come Saturday?

Appiah: Before the Botswana game we knew it was going to be tough going in Group D and coming with the tag of favourites the other teams would be keen to catch us cold and knock us out. Luckily we came through with 3 points from the Botswana but now against Mali we have another tough match ahead. We will try to break down their defence and try and get some goals. Mali is a good team. Our boys are motivated and the camp is buzzing with unity and the boys now what is at stake.

Cafonline.com: How much will the absence of your captain John Mensah be a factor?

Appiah: John is a great player for us and when he plays we feel defence is safe and we would have loved to have him and his defensive partner Vorsah playing but these two boys, John Boye and Jonathan Mensah will fill in for them. Mensah played well in the center back role in the last World Cup and John was the only new boy in first game against Botswana and he played well so we are confident they will do a good job on Saturday.

Cafonline.com: What is the reaction and impact to you and the team when you see a side like Senegal getting knocked out of the tournament?

Appiah: I was surprised with what happened to Senegal and l thought they would recover from the first loss but it wasn’t to be. I wondered why they seem to play relaxed and only started to play after they were down. I don’t know exactly what it was down to but it has made our team stay even more focused and we tell them football is developed on the African continent and all over so you cannot underrate anyone anymore. We have watched these games here with our players are aware there are no lesser teams, so Mali will be treated with utter most respect and we will seek to give a through performance against Mali.

Cafonline.com: You saw Mali beat Guinea how do you intend to tackle them

Appiah: The team tactics and approach for this game will be not be too different from the first game but we will change a few things accordingly. Mali put up a solid display and mounted an effective defence against Guinea so we have been working on getting goals and to do so we need to find ways to break them down.

Cafonline.com: And finally how would you describe the mood in the Ghana camp ahead of the Mali game?

Appiah: It is a happy camp and all is well. The team is motivated and we had a visit from the Vice President of Ghana which was great and the boys are in jovial but focused mood.