Sulley Muntari wants Ghana's "fantastic adventure" to continue and have the whole of Africa bursting with pride by becoming the first country from that continent to reach a FIFA World Cup™ semi-final.
The Inter Milan midfielder, who has made headlines for events off as well as on the field, is set for his first start of the tournament against Uruguay in Johannesburg tonight. The 25-year-old has was on the verge of being sent home after a dressing-room row with Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac after the group clash with Australia. But Muntari patched up his differences with Rajevac and Andre Ayew's suspension means he is likely to start the quarter-final clash.
Muntari admitted: "I had a discussion with the coach. I think I was maybe a little silly. Everything is good now, everything is cool. I am always with the team. I have always given 100 per cent to the team. It is going to depend on the coach who plays but I am ready to give my all. On a personal level I want to leave all the negative stuff behind me and we all want to make the whole of Africa proud. We have great dedication and commitment."
Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) are the only other African sides to have reached the quarter-finals and Muntari insists the relaxed nature and togetherness of the squad are key components in their success. "We smile all the time," he said. "After a game, we just go into our hotel and relax. We don't watch TV and the comments people are making. We don't watch those things. We keep all the positive side.
"We are always quiet. If we win a game, you don't see that we've won. It is like we haven't done nothing. That is pretty much what we have in our head. The Ghana camp is great. We listen to the same music, dance the same rhythm. We are not far from home, we are all together."
He added: "It is going to be a difficult game but we will try our best to hold them. But we have Asamoah Gyan who was doing a great job even before we came here. At the training camp, he looked in great form. He is doing a great job. He has shown it many times but people didn't give him the credit he deserves. It is not a new thing for me that he is a good player. He has shown it before and I am very happy for him and he is doing a great job."
Uruguay only qualified for the finals through a play-off but have been one of the surprises of the tournament under their vastly experienced 63-year-old coach Oscar Tabarez. Reaching the semi-finals would be the best achievement by the first winners of the FIFA World Cup - Uruguay triumphed in 1930 and then again in 1950 - since 1970, but Tabarez has warned against looking back at past glories.
He added: "I don't want to look back and talk about the historical dimension - anything that involves thinking beyond tomorrow makes us lose concentration. Perhaps later on we will be able to talk about the historical significance. First we have to play this quarter-final against Ghana and they are very strong, with very fast players with good dribbling skills. Ghana are getting closer to elite competition and I think they will continue to improve."