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Africa Cup of Nations

Imperative Ghana stick together despite opening defeat - Mensah

15:35 WAT 13/01/2022
Iddrisu Baba Mohammed Kudus Jonathan Mensah Daniel Amartey Ghana
The Black Stars find themselves under pressure heading into their second Africa Cup of Nations fixture

Ghana’s experienced players must ensure the team stick together after the setback of an opening Africa Cup of Nations defeat, according to defender Jonathan Mensah.

The Black Stars were dispatched 1-0 by Morocco in their first Nations Cup match on Monday, with Sofiane Boufal’s late winner proving the difference between the two teams.

Milovan Rajevac’s side now find themselves under pressure heading into their second group game against Gabon on Friday at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.

“We need to stick together, regardless of what happens,” Mensah told GOAL. “We need to stick together because then we can bounce back from that.

"The mood is fine even though we lost, we know we still have two games left, we just need to go, recover and go again.”

Ghana ceded the majority of possession to their North African opponents during their opening fixture, with Morocco taking 12 shots to the Black Stars’ five.

While the West African giants were in the contest until the death, Mensah struggled to pick out any positives from their performance.

“I wouldn’t say [there are positives] because it’s always about the result,” he continued. “We’re disappointed, but we hold our head high, we will prepare, and we’ll go for the second game.”

Mensah also lauded the impact of the returning Rajevac, with the veteran defender present when the Serbian coach inspired the Black Stars to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"We’ve managed to qualify for the World Cup playoffs,” Mensah said of the coach’s impact on the team. “We’ve been working hard under him and hopefully we’ll go further in this tournament under him.”

Mensah, who is the captain of Major League Soccer wide Columbus Crew, has featured in two World Cups with the Black Stars since making his international debut.

This is the centre-back’s seventh Nations Cup, having reached the final on two occasions—in 2010 and 2015—both of which resulted in disappointment for the 1982 champions.

He’s featured in three other semi-finals, finishing fourth in 2012, 2013 and 2017.