Ghana are braced for a challenge when they kick off their campaign at the African Cup of Nations against first-timer Botswana in Group D on Tuesday.
Two years ago, the Black Stars made a slow start in Angola, losing 3-1 to Ivory Coast before recovering to reach the finals. But that is not the sought of start Goran Stevanovic would attempt to make.
Tagged as favourites, the four-time African Champions are aware of the increased pressure to deliver the title to end a 30-year wait.
And Stevanovic is very confident of ending the long wait since 1982. Ghana will be without Isaac Vorsah for the opener as the defender is suspended after being shown a red card in qualification.
“Now I think is a good time to try and get this trophy. I think for Ghana, 30 years is a lot of time to stay without the trophy,” Stevanovic said.
But he needs to get past the “Zebras”, who came through a difficult group comprising former African champions, Tunisia, Togo who were at the 2006 World Cup, Malawi and Chad to qualify.
Such is the opposition that the Black Stars will be facing at the Stade de Franceville with their coach Stanley Tshosane eager to enhance their credentials on their debut after being crowned African team of the year at the Caf Awards in Accra last December.
“We’re not here on holiday, we will surprise someone,” the Botswana coach who will miss forward Joel Mogorosi after he broke his arm last week.
Meanwhile, Mali hopes to make a strong start in Group D when they take on Guinea in the second group fixture.