Ghana is the lowest ranked team in this beach soccer tournament. But that does not mean we are coming here to relax - Yaw Ampofo Ankrah
The Black Sharks are paired in group A together with Ivory Coast, Egypt and host nation Nigeria. The team touched down in Lagos yesterday, and is scheduled to take on Ivory Coast in the tournament opener later today.
A contingent of 16 players and 5 officials landed at the Victoria Island resort where the team will be basing ahead of the opening game.
The Black Sharks have been beset by issues of funding which has cast doubts over the team’s preparedness for the beach soccer tournament. However, Ampofo Ankrah insists the team is not in Nigeria just to add to the numbers, but is bent on making an impact in the tournament.
“Ghana is the lowest ranked team in this beach soccer tournament. But that does not mean we are coming here to relax or add to the numbers. We didn’t come here for tourism or even to have fun. This is not a holiday [so] we mean business,” he said.
“And apart from the captain who has spoken [to the media], all the players are just focused and I can say they not going to take any opponent – however big or however their pedigree – for granted. We have to go all out for every match because we have no option.”
This year’s tournament is billed to be one of the most keenly contested in recent years, with defending champions Madagascar and host nation Nigerian tipped to be the favourites. But Ampofo Ankrah maintains that the Black Sharks have no fear and are ready to do battle against any team.
“There is no cheap or team in this tournament. They are all top teams in Africa so it will be very difficult. Having said that, we are playing against Ivory Coast, Egypt and Nigeria so why should we fear? There’s no fear. It’s just about going out there and giving out 100%, and we know that at the end of the day we can get victory.”
The 2016 beach soccer Africa Cup of Nations will see two of the competing countries qualify for the beach soccer world cup in Bahamas.