Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has urged his Black Stars team-mates to put the 2013 Afcon failure behind and shift their attention to the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Mali recorded a 3-1 victory over Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off on Saturday. The Eagles also beat the Black Stars in the same play-off match at the last edition in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon a year ago.
The Black Stars will now have to turn their attention on rebuilding the team and focus on playing Zambia in the second-leg of the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on March 24. The Black Stars suffered a 1-0 defeat in Ndola by the 2012 African champions in the first leg.
The leading marksman who doubles as the team leader has called on his colleagues to bounce back from their latest upset and focus on their world cup qualifiers.
“We wanted the ultimate. It's unfortunate we lost. These things happen in football. Even in the 3rd place match,” Gyan said. “When things happen, there'll be criticisms. I use them to psyche myself. I'll try and encourage the young guys. They have to forget or it'll affect their club careers. They have to know it's not easy. Even when you win, you may be criticised.”
“It's over but we have a match coming up. I don't want anybody to be down. We spoke in the dressing room. We should all be strong. The team is young. It's amazing, 10 debutants. Ghana is a footballing nation. We can build on.”