Ghana shields Black Stars

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Coach Claude Le Roy and his 23 players called up for the tournament spent 11 days isolated on the outskirts of Dubai and the Frenchman says it was an exercise worth undertaking.

“The facilities here are wonderful and we have been able to train with our peace of mind. Over this period my belief in this team has grown and my appreciation for them as professionals increased”, Le Roy told KickOff.com.

Ghana’s only game during the camping was a 1-0 loss to local side Al-Shabbab FC, but Le Roy says all what matters for him is how the players will do when the tournament gets underway on Sunday.

With Accra awash with nationalism ahead of the tournament, Le Roy is keen to shield his players from the weight of expectation that comes with hosting the tournament and the distraction of playing at home.

“They know that if we want to achieve something, they must make sacrifices. They won’t be allowed to do anything. They will be free on the first afternoon when we return but afterwards, it’s finished. I won’t allow anyone to spoil the job we have done so far. If we are to achieve anything, it will be for them.”

Ghana will kick off the African Nations Cup on Sunday against Guinea and there is great anticipation that the Black Stars can do what previous Ghana teams have failed to do since 1982 and win Ghana her fifth Nations Cup title.

Meanwhile, Ghana striker Matthew Amoah has hinted he may call time on his international career after he was dropped from the 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations.

The NAC Breda player was dropped from the squad on the grounds of injury but insists he was not given the opportunity to prove himself by coach Le Roy.

Now he says he is not certain if he will respond to future call-ups. “I decided this might be my last Nations Cup. I am not sure I will be back in the national team. In football things change and I don’t know but right now I think I am out of the national team.”

While Amoah admits he reported to the team’s base carrying an injury, he says it was clear from the moment he arrived in Dubai that he wasn’t in the coach’s plans.

“I saw it coming. I saw it from the attitude of the coach. I have been injured for a while but I wasn’t the only one. But life goes on. I just have to go back and concentrate on my career. If the coach had given me more time I would have done it.”

Amoah made his debut for Ghana at the 2002 Nations Cup in Mali before going on to represent the Black Stars at the 2006 Nations Cup and the World Cup. He says representing Ghana will count amongst the best moments of his career.

“If you wear the national jersey it is great source of pride. I have enjoyed it since the first time I came here. I played at the world cup and played a major part in getting Ghana there. I think I did my best for the nation. I just feel this is not the right way to treat me but this is football,” he said.

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