John Paintsil
John Paintsil

John Paintsil: Only complacency can rob Ghana of qualification

Former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil, has stated that the only thing that can rob Ghana of qualification to the 2026 FIFA World Cup is complacency.

As much as he believed the Black Stars had been paired in a tricky group, the 42-year-old coach said if Ghana would pull through, then each game must be approached as though it were the World Cup proper.

“We’ll qualify if only we take all our games seriously by not underrating any team or the jersey they wear, because those things play a lot of tricks on players’ minds,” Paintsil stated.

Speaking to the Graphic Sports on the draw which placed Ghana in Group I alongside Mali, Madagascar, Central Africa Republic, Chad and Comoros, the former West Ham United player described it as not being a tough group but one that required hard work to scale over. 

“It’s a very tricky group; it’s not a difficult group but it’s a tricky one. A tough group is different from a tricky one and you know we have Comoros there whom we have a history with based on what happened at the last Africa Cup of Nations where they pulled a surprise.

“They might think they still exist and that also gives them some confidence, and also Central African Republic. They are also a team that can pull a surprise. Mali is the difficult one,” he noted.

“If we become complacent, we are going to lose the match, so we shouldn’t underrate any team. We should take every game seriously. It doesn’t matter whether it is Comoros or Chad, we have to play like we are playing against Brazil,” he stressed.

He explained that the FIFA World Cup qualifiers took about two years to finish, unlike other qualifiers that were completed within a short period. 

He, therefore, challenged the Black Stars to ensure they won every match to bag the maximum points to avoid the last-minute calculations.

Painstil believed that the authorities and players were not in any mood to underrate any team.

“For me, where Ghana football is going, I don’t think the players and the technical team are ready to underrate any team because we’re experienced enough to win all the matches, both home and away,” he assured.

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