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Black Stars finish final preparations

RETURN: Gyan

ASAMOAH GYAN made a goalscoring return to action for Ghana as they beat South African league side Platinum Stars 2-0 in an African Nations Cup warm-up game on Wednesday (January 18).

There had been fears that the Al-Ain striker, who suffered a hamstring injury at the beginning of the month whilst on club duty, would not be fit in time for the tournament which kicks-off on Saturday (January 21).

However, he returned to training last Saturday (January 14) following a horse placenta treatment from a Serbian healer.

The 26-year-old then allayed any fears by starting for the Black Stars and scoring their first goal on 27 minutes, before being taken off at half-time as a precautionary measure.

Marseille midfielder Andre Ayew got the second goal, five minutes after Gyan’s opener.

The game was Ghana’s last warm-up before they depart for their Nations Cup base in Gabon on Friday (January 21).

The Black Stars first game in Group D is against Botswana on Tuesday (January 24) and they then take on Mali (January 28) and Guinea (February 1).

Ghana have not won the tournament since 1982 and were runners up at the last Nations Cup two years in Angola, losing to Egypt in the final.

The team’s coach Goran Stevanovic declared that anything less than coming away as champions would be failure in his eyes:

“A repeat of what has already been achieved is not good enough. My players and I are motivated. All of us have spoken a lot about this tournament and we agree Ghana are going to be champions. We are under pressure, but that is normal in football. The record of Ghana in the Cup of Nations means they will always be among the favourites and we accept that playing in the final is the least our supporters expect from us.”

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