Afcon 2017: Coach Avram Grant urges Ghana to focus on present

Ghana coach Avram Grant
Ghana coach Avram Grant is not underestimating Uganda

Ghana coach Avram Grant wants his players to be in the moment at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and not be distracted by the past.

The Black Stars lost the final on penalties to Ivory Coast two years ago, denying them a first title since 1982.

"In the last Nations Cup we were very very close - 22 penalties and we were the better side," Grant said ahead of Tuesday's Group D opener with Uganda.

"But that is for memories - now we want to achieve something."

The pressure is on Ghana to finally deliver what is proving to be an elusive fifth title.

And their performances in recent months have come under intense scrutiny from their fans, especially after a World Cup qualifying defeat against Egypt, and a lacklustre draw against the same Uganda side they are about to face.

Grant has led Ghana against Uganda three times competitively: that draw in World Cup qualifying and twice in qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, where the Cranes got another draw and a famous victory.

"They're a tough team, it's not easy to play against them - and especially in Ghana we had difficulties in the last games," Grant said. "But we are not looking at the past too much, we are learning from the past but living in the present."

Captain Asamoah Gyan said tournament experience within the Ghana camp could be crucial.

"This year we have almost the same players [as in 2015]," said the former Sunderland striker, who could reach 100 Ghana caps during the tournament in Gabon.

"Some lads [have] joined recently but 95% of the team are the same and we have been working under the coach for more than two years so we understand each other."

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