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We shall overcome!

SENT OFF: John Mensah

GHANA STRIKER Asamoah Gyan has admitted that the Black Stars were lucky to win their opening African Nations Cup game.

Ghana held on for a slender 1-0 win against debutants Botswana and they had to play the last 25 minutes with ten men after their captain, and goal scorer, John Mensah was forced to make a crude tackle on Jerome Ramatlhakwane who was through on goal.

Gyan praised the character of the four-time African champions but he added that he was impressed with how the Zebras put them under pressure, and that luck had played a crucial role in the win: “We were lucky we won by 1-0 and this shows the character our boys had and we had the red card, we kept our composure, we possessed the ball, the way we did.

"We've got a lot of experience and this is the first time for Botswana so we knew what they were going to do. All the 11 players were behind the ball and so it was difficult for them to score as well.”

John Mensah also admitted that he was disappointed to have been sent-off but said the most important thing for the team was the three points: “I'm happy we won with my goal. We had to win to boost our confidence. I thank God for my first goal at the Nations Cup, unfortunately I also got a red card. But we have a good bench and so we have a lot of players who can replace me in the two games I will miss.”

Centre-back Jonathan Mensah is likely to replace him in the next game against Mali on January 28 and coach Goran Stevanovic has backed the youngster to step up to the challenge:

“I'm worried because Mensah is very difficult to replace. But while we were training in South Africa, I told the players that I need every one of them for this competition and so I have 20 other players who could replace him and we will be ready for Mali.”

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