John Paintsil

Mali can pose a threat to Ghana -- John Paintsil

Many years after hanging his boots, former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil, has disclosed that he felt intimidated whenever Ghana was drawn against Mali in any competition.


"Mali is a difficult side; they are one of the football countries I was never comfortable playing against during my career,” Paintsil told Graphic Sports while analysing Ghana's World Cup chances against Group I opponents Mali, Chad, Comoros, Central African Republic and Madagascar.

The 42-year-old former Fulham defender described Mali as a difficult side which had often given the Black Stars a lot of difficulties. He believed the Eagles might have discovered the ways and means of beating the Black Stars.

Due to this, he said he felt uncomfortable anytime he had to play against the Malians and, therefore, warned the Black Stars not to underrate them during their World Cup qualifying matches to avoid any shock.

He, however, touted the experience of the current Black Stars team, which he believed, could prove superior in any encounter between the Malians and Ghana.

Paintsil stated that if the Malians rely solely on young players, then the Black Stars would use their experience to beat them.

''Our boys are experienced enough; so, if Mali is going to use young players, then I think it will benefit us because in football, without experience you can’t make it. 

“You need both young and experienced players to have a strong team,'' he stressed.

He, however, observed that the Malian team had dipped in form as compared to the era of Seidu Keita and believed they would not pose much threat to the Black Stars even though they could pull some surprises if they are taken for granted.

“It was during 2012 when Mali was in top form; I thought they could build on their form but looking at them now I don’t think they are strong like before,” he noted.

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