Ghana ready to fight Mali for third

Ghana assistant coach Maxwell Konadu insists the Black Stars are playing for more than pride in Saturday's third-place playoff.

Wakaso Mubarak

The match in Port Elizabeth is a repeat of last year's bronze medal decider against Mali, where the Eagles claimed third place in the tournament with a 2-0 victory.

The two sides have already met in this year's competition in Group B when Ghana triumphed 1-0 in a tight encounter, Mubarak Wakaso's first-half penalty the only difference in the hard-fought match.

However, despite the weight of expectation from Black Stars fans and after seeing their title ambitions blown, Konadu knows Saturday's meeting with Mali is important - and not just in the form of a revenge mission.

He told ""Everyone back home was expecting us to win the Cup, but it didn't happen.

"But all is not lost. We will go out and fight against Mali for third place, and then re-organise ourselves for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

"It's our responsibility to motivate the team, to encourage them. We'll do our best."

Ghana missed out on a chance to make it to the final after they were beaten 3-2 on penalties by Burkina Faso while Mali were thrashed 4-1 by Nigeria in their semi-final.

Mali captain Seydou Keita knows his side need to reflect on their mistakes in that game if they are to claim a successive bronze medal.

"Blaming other people is a waste of time and takes us nowhere," Keita said.

"We did well against South Africa because we played as a team. We did not play well against Nigeria and there must be a collective sharing of the responsibility for that failure."

Ghana striker Wakaso also has another prize to play for as he will look to score again and edge ahead of joint tournament top scorer Emmanuel Emenike of Nigeria for the award of golden boot. Both players have scored four goals so far in the tournament with the race for the prize going down to the final two matches.

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