Grant jumps in deep end with Ghana

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Avram Grant admits he has jumped into the deep end taking over Ghana just before the African Nations Cup finals but after almost a month with his new players reckons he is getting on swimmingly.

The former Chelsea manager saw his team through to the quarterfinals in Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday after a storming come-from-behind win against South Africa in their final group match in Mongomo where a double substitution midway through the second half was followed by two goals in 10 minutes.

“Having to learn every day about my team has not been easy but I think I now know enough about all of them,” he said after the 2-1 victory ensured top place in Group C and a quarterfinal in Malabo on Sunday.

“The Nations Cup is nothing new to me. I’ve been watching it all my life. Obviously being here is a little different to what I’ve done before but I did a lot of research and preparation. We had a good training camp and I’ve had a chance to also see how the players react after losing and after wining. You saw how we bounced back after we lost our first match.”

Grant was under immediate pressure from a skeptical media and public after Ghana let a lead slip and lost to a last-gasp goal against Senegal in their opening group game but beat Algeria and South Africa to advance.

Ghana, who have a rich history in the tournament, turned to Grant just one month before the finals having taken three months to replace Kwesi Appiah, who was dismissed not long after last year’s World Cup.

“I’m very happy for the players, they showed once again as they did in the previous game their spirit and the determination.”

The Israeli had a month to do his homework before pre-tournament training started on New Year’s Day in Accra, followed by a brief training camp in Spain with some scrimmages against European club side.

He has tinkered with the team in each of his three games in charge but got it spot on Tuesday as Ghana totally dominated the second half against South Africa to reach the last eight for a fifth successive tournament.

“The game was in our hands. I’m very happy for the players, they showed once again as they did in the previous game their spirit and the determination. We came through the Group of Death,” Grant added.

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