By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jan 17, 2017
Avram Grant, the Ghana head coach is confidentahead of their opening match against Uganda on Wednesday.
In an interview with Cafonline, Grant stated: "The spirit is good and we're looking forward to the first game against Uganda. Uganda is a tough team that plays very good football. They gave us tough moments in our past two meetings.
"Our task is to show to others that we are a strong team. It is going to be a tough game after all. Football is about pressure, and you can't achieve anything without pressure."
His captain was equally optimistic. "A win will bring our confidence back because we had a tough preparation. We worked so hard and we're ready for the first game. We're playing against a tough side, a side that we have struggled against lately. It's not going to be easy."
The captain recalled they came closer to winning the trophy two years ago and it is the bulk of that team which will line up against Uganda. "This year we have almost the same players with some young ones who joined the team recently, but 95% of the team is the same."
"With all due respect to Uganda, but numbers say we're ahead of them. If they beat us, it will be great news for them; but if we beat them it's normal. They're a great team and they improved a lot especially in the last year. We respect them and we're positive."
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević, the Uganda Cranes head coach said his team worked very hard to be in the finals. "We've worked very hard for this moment to come. Millions of people dreamt of this to happen and they are waiting with pride. The last time we played in the Africa Cup of Nations was the 1978 final against Ghana.
"After 39 years, we are back and our first match is against Ghana again. It is a meaningful destiny. Ghana is a great football nation and we have very good relationships with them; they are like our role models. In the last three encounters they have failed to beat us, but as they say "history will not play tomorrow".
Back after 39 years
What Uganda lack in experience, they will make up with confidence. "We are back to the Africa Cup of Nations after 39 years. We have no experience but we are full of confidence. Every match is like a final for us."
The coach admitted Ghana was a quality side and favored to win the championship but added Uganda had to play against the best.
"It is a test of how far to go and if we want to be among the best in African football we have to prove that. Ghana is a team with top class players and they are one of the tournament favorites. Since 2008, they are always in the top four. They were runner-ups two years ago; this proves they are a top team."
Uganda is the only team from the Cecafa region in the finals andSredojević has a bigger picture two years from now when Cameroon hosts the showliece. "We are building a team and we have a project for Cameroon 2019."
His captain Geofrey Massa has a good feeling about the match against Ghana. "It won’t be easy against Ghana but we know why we are here. We had good results against them recently. "
"Millions of people are waiting for us with happiness and this is our motivation. We have a great coach who always encourages the players. He's a blessing to Uganda. We have a lot of young players in the team. Playing against Ghana is tough, but we will be up to the mission."