Ghana captain Stephen Appiah insisted his team will be playing the right tune when they begin their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ campaign against Serbia on Sunday.
The Ghana players broke into song at the end of their last training session ahead of their first Group D clash, and Appiah says that is all part of the African preparation. "In Africa it's music that keeps us going. We're always singing in the bus, that's our spirit and we always want to keep that spirit alive," he said.
Appiah played for Ghana in the last FIFA World Cup in Germany four years ago but admitted that this one feels different. "Let me be honest, I was very, very happy at our first World Cup in Germany but this time I'm excited because we're playing in Africa," he said.
"The whole of Africa is watching and hoping that one of the African teams will go far. I think it's a big challenge but our destiny is in our own hands and I'm really happy to be a part of this team. It's going to be a historic World Cup."
In Africa, it's music that keeps us going. We're always singing in the bus, that's our spirit and we always want to keep that spirit alive.
Appiah's inclusion might be a surprise for some, though, as he has played only 10 club matches in the last three years. He admits he may find the going tough early on but said he is ready to play his part. "Last season I signed a contract with Bologna, I played many practice games and at the end of the season I played twice," he said. "I played in friendlies against Holland and Latvia and I thought I would play 90 minutes but I couldn't and I only played 45 minutes. But the coach was happy with that, I'm fit, I'm ready to play, I don't know if I'll start but any time the coach calls on me, I'll be ready."
Coach Milovan Rajevac said the loss of Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien for the tournament is a big blow for the Ghanaians but he believes German-born Kevin-Prince Boateng, who plays for Portsmouth, is capable of filling his shoes having opted to represent his father's homeland.
"Mike (Essien) not being with us is truly a great handicap but Kevin has come in as a new player," he said. "Certain other players who were injured have also returned and the young players have integrated well. He (Boateng) has adjusted well and he might be one of the most intriguing players at the World Cup."
Appiah agreed that Boateng has fitted in well and said he's been welcomed with open arms. "He's even cracking some jokes in our language, he's happy in this team but it's easy to adjust," he said. "The unity is there, we love each other and you can't see any difference between the young players and the senior players, the locals or the ones that play abroad, that's our secret."