New Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah keen to silence doubters

By Michael Oti AdjeiBBC Sport, Accra
Ghana's Black Stars
The Black Stars are now under the management of Kwesi Appiah

New Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah is relishing his "underdog" status following his promotion from assistant coach of the Black Stars.

Appiah's appointment last week was a surprise, with big names such as Marcel Desailly heavily linked with the post, but the 53-year-old is determined to succeed.

"I like it when people under-rate me. It is always good to be the underdog," Appiah told BBC Sport.

"I have been with the boys for some time now and that is of great advantage. I know them on and off the pitch and I think that is the main reason that the Ghana Football Association gave me the job. It is up to me to prove how I handle this."

Appiah signed a two-year contract to become the first Ghanaian coach of the Black Stars for a decade when he replaced Serbian Goran Stevanovic, who was fired in the wake of Ghana's failure to win the Nations Cup in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.

The former Ghana captain, who says his appointment is the highest point of his career, has been tasked by the GFA to lead Ghana to glory at the 2013 Nations Cup and to reach at least the semi-finals of the World Cup in Brazil the following year.

He considers those targets achievable and says his aims to "win every game".

Appiah, an assistant coach with Ghana at the 2010 World Cup when they reached the quarter-finals, is taking over a team with many key players struggling for games at club level and heading towards the age of 30, but he says he will not be immediately overhauling the side.

"Everything will be done gradually," he said. "I will not rush to take any drastic decision. If your age is high and you are still performing then you will still be invited. I don't believe in names, I believe in who can play for me. At the end of the day if anything goes wrong, I will be held responsible."

Appiah's first game in charge of Ghana will be against Lesotho in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Ghana.

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