Kwasi Appiah: Friendlies Are Warm-Up For AFCON Qualifiers

Ghana’s Black Stars coach, Kwasi Appiah, believes his charges will be motivated to give another good showing when they line up against Iceland in an international friendly Reykjarik tomorrow.

The Stars are already in Reykjavic to oblige their hosts who are preparing for the World Cup at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium for the important exercise.

After winning 2-0 against Japan in a similar exercise in Tokyo last week Thursday, Kwasi Appiah is optimistic his side will continue from where they left off as they themselves are also looking beyond the Iceland exercise.

A goal from stand-in captain Thomas Partey and debutant, Emmanuel Boateng gave the Stars a win and a confidence boost and Coach Appiah believes rather than the players being carried away by the Japan result, they would be motivated to step up their game against Iceland.

He told the Graphic Sports that the Iceland game was very important because it could possibly be the friendly before they get back to their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier away against Kenya on August 7 and thus not taking it lightly or carried away by the Japan win.

“The game against Japan was good and we intend to draw on the positives and correct the negatives in our team building exercise. I would not want to single out one individual player, but I think all the players called up and who had the chance to play did a good job. I expect them to do the job as expected of them.

“Possibly, we may not get any high profile friendly to play after the Iceland game, and with the AFCON qualifiers resuming almost immediately after the World Cup, we will take full advantage of the game opportunity.

“Apart from giving the new players more time to settle in, it also will give me the chance to assess all the players available and plan for the game against Kenya,” Appiah told the Graphic Sports in a conversation.

Meanwhile, Edmund Okai Gyimah reports that ahead of the game, defender Rashid Sumaila has declared himself fit and hoping to have the chance to play again.

The talented defender took a knock in the 2-0 win over Japan in Yokohama and was substituted in the 77th minute with fears that he could miss the game with the European minnows on Thursday.

Initial reports in the media were that Genk defender Joseph Aidoo was being considered to fill-in for Sumaila but he has confirmed that he is in good health to play against Strákarnir okkar.

“I had some crumbs but it was not all that serious. I am very fit and I can play on Thursday. I have been training with the team and everything is going well,” Sumaila told Graphic Sports.

“I am looking up to the game. They are a good side having beat the likes of Austria, Croatia and also having drawn with Europeans Champions Portugal. We are not going to underrate them, we are going for a win,”

A win for Ghana in Reykjavic will be the first time Kwesi Appiah had defeated an European nation in a friendly game.