Black stars of Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah is expecting to find Cape Verde a vastly tougher side to beat in the African Nations Cup quarterfinal on Saturday than the one that lost 1-0 to his team in a friendly in November.
"The two games have absolutely nothing in common," Appiah told reporters
at his pre-match media briefing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on
"Only four or five players from that side are here - but the players who are here are tougher, stronger and far more confident.
Appiah came in for some criticism earlier in the week when he said he
would rather face tournament favourites Ivory Coast than Cape Verde at
this stage - a comment that raised some eyebrows among his domestic
"Cape Verde, on the other hand, are coming to the game a very strong team but with no pressure on them at all.
"They are not expected to win, and so they have nothing to lose and that
is a fear for me. Of course Ivory Coast is a dangerous opponent, but
you know how to plan for a familiar opponent under pressure like
"I believe Cape Verde is a very strong team now. I still think we will beat them, but it will not be easy."
Ghana, who won all of their four African titles between 1963 and 1982,
are desperate to end their 31-year wait for their fifth crown.
They were the only African side to advance from the group stage of the
World Cup in South Africa three years ago when they were a penalty kick
away from the semifinals, and are currently ranked 26th in the world.
Ghana came through the group phase with two wins and a draw and apart
from allowing the Democratic Republic of Congo to salvage a 2-2 draw
after Ghana had led 2-0, they have looked sound enough.