Ghana coach Kwasi Appiah says final round qualifying matches are never easy in international football.
The Black Stars play Malawi in Accra on Saturday in the first leg of the final round fixture in the qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite sitting 59 places above Malawi on the world ranking table, Appiah insists his players will not underestimate the threat posed by the Flames when they kick off at the Accra Sports Stadium at 15:30GMT.
According to Appiah, the Black Stars are prepared for the tricky encounter.
“When the competition reaches a stage like this, every side is prepared for it. The tie is decided over two matches. And over two games, it doesn’t matter the size of a country, it’s about the preparation, determination and hardwork of your side that will get you through,” Appiah told www.ghanafa.org ahead of the game on Saturday.
Appiah is very confident that his team can do a good job in the first leg.
“What I demand of my team is to put in the hardwork and get out there to do same. We’re well aware that they [Malawi] will be attempting to cause problems.
“We must deal with it and be ambitious. So, what matters to me is to do our best. Sometimes, it might not be too pleasing for the eye but we have to give off our best and get the results. We won’t underestimate them.”
The winner over both legs qualifies for next year’s tournament in South Africa.
Thirty countries have been split into 15 home-and-away ties with the winners joining hosts, South Africa, who are automatic qualifiers for the Nations Cup.
Next year’s finals will mark the last time that the Nations Cup will be held in even-number years since Ethiopia staged the 1968 finals.
The competition switches to uneven-number years from 2013 to avoid every second tournament being staged in the same year as a World Cup.