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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Many champions start tournaments slowly - Partey

14:54 GMT+3 08/07/2019
Cameroon's midfielder Georges Mandjeck vies for the ball with Ghana's midfielder Thomas Partey during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
The 26-year-old sheds light on Monday's Round of 16 tie against the Carthage Eagles and his best position on the field

Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey is convinced the Black Stars have enough capacity to beat Tunisia in Monday's Round of 16 clash at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.

The four-time champions are set to lock horns with the Carthage Eagles at Ismailia Stadium for a place in the quarter-finals. 

With six wins and a draw in their favour in their past Afcon meetings, Ghana will seemingly start with an edge on Monday. 

"You know football has changed a lot," Partey explained to Goal

"Almost all of the teams are playing well. Ghana has [a good] record against Tunisia but we cannot rely on it. We have to do our work and beat them. 

"The start does not reflect anything. We have seen many champions in the past started tournaments in a quiet way and then got better and better. Tunisia is a good team and we have to stay focused. 

"It comes to how we deal with the start of the game and how we end it. I think we are stronger than them and we can beat them."

Ghana did not have an explosive start to the tournament that many envisaged as they were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by Benin before settling for another stalemate (0-0) with Cameroon.

A 2-0 triumph over Guinea-Bissau in the last game, however, was enough to see the Black Stars finish top of Group F to secure a spot in the next round.

"If you guys say Ghana didn't start well, for me I see this as a positive for us and it takes the pressure away from us," said Partey.

"We led against Benin until the red card [to John Boye] and played a very tough game against Cameroon, so for us, we have done a great job until now.

"We finished the group [tops] and are now on to the knockout stage which is very difficult. I think our objective is clear and we will work for it. 

"We deal with each match separately so our focus now is just the Tunisia game."

For many, the Atletico Madrid man is yet to find his rhythm at the tournament and this has been partly blamed on his deployment in a defensive role by coach James Appiah.

His goal against Guinea-Bissau shortly after a tactical switch which saw him pushed further up has only strengthened suggestions that a permanent offensive role could bring out his best. 

"I can't choose my position, sometimes it's possible but not every time. I have to do my best for the team and my country," the 26-year-old remarked. 

"Some people speak about this as a negative but for me, it is positive because I have done a lot of work to help the team and I'm happy with everything I have done.

"The only thing I care about is seeing Ghana win every match."

Partey also spoke about playing with legendary Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan who is set to bow out of international football after the tournament.

"I have played a few matches with him," said the Odumase Krobo-born player.

"He is a good player on and off the pitch, he is also helpful. I do not mind playing with him or with any other players around me.

"We are one team here, and like I said, we want to win every game and everyone is working to reach that target."

Partey is playing at his second Afcon tournament following his debut in Gabon two years ago.