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Biggest achievement of any FA is to qualify for World Cup – Kurt Okraku

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Ghana Football Association (GFA) President Kurt Okraku believes very few achievements of any football association supersede qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.

According to him, the World Cup brings so much exposure to a country, even beyond football, than any other football event.

Ghana qualified for three straight World Cup tournaments in 2006, 2010 and 2014, but missed out on the 2018 edition after failing to qualify.

However, the Black Stars will be returning to the Mundial later this year, having booking their place in Qatar via a playoff victory over rivals Nigeria.

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Speaking at the GFA Congress on Tuesday, Okraku said the biggest achievement of any FA is ensuring its national team qualifies for the World Cup.

“This is the biggest achievement any member association can talk about. You can qualify for the u15, u17, u23 and the women but if you are absent at the Mundial believe me, you are nothing,” he stated.

“We shouldn’t take it for granted that we’ve qualified because this marks the beginning of a new era for Ghanaian football.

“When you qualify for the world cup, you are treated differently, for my colleagues who have been to Qatar, you’ve had a feel of it and you belong to the big boys.”

He added: “In 2018 we were absent, then we had problems with Anas video, then everybody started to forget about Ghana but Ghana is a superpower in football at least in Africa and we deserve to be there and we made it.”

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Olise’s late strike gets Palace point against United

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Michael Olise has helped Crystal Palace get a point against Manchester United in their 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park Stadium on Wednesday night.

The midfielder’s late strike in extra-time, 91′, levelled the game against United, who had controlled the lead since the 43rd minute of the first half after Bruno Fernandes’ fine finish put the Red Devils ahead just before the break.

A relentless Olise scored from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top right corner. The equalising goal saw United’s dream of replacing defending EPL champions City in the second place on the league table, fade away, as they remain third with 39 points, having played a game more than City.

Crystal Palace remains in 12th place with 23 points.

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Atletico Madrid head coach speaks on leaving Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid head coach, Diego Simeone, has insisted that nobody has personally told him to leave the club.

Rumours have persisted that Simeone, 52, could be set to end this 11-year stay at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

However, the Argentine has now stated that no one at the club has asked him to quit the La Liga giants.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Levante on Wednesday night, Simeone said when asked about reports suggesting he would leave the club at the end of the season: “No one has personally asked me to leave.”

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However, having already been eliminated from UEFA Champions League and sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, the Copa del Rey is Atletico Madrid’s last realistic opportunity for a trophy this season.

It has been a disappointing campaign for Simeone’s side, as they sit fourth in the league.

Simeone added, “The boys are enthusiastic to reverse this situation that we have experienced since the break and prior to the World Cup. It’s been a regular to a bad season. For me, there is growth after the break, hopefully, we will continue in that line.”

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EPL: Frank Lampard won’t run away – Shaun Wright-Phillips

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Former Chelsea player, Shaun Wright-Phillips has backed his former teammate, Frank Lampard to stay at Goodison Park and turn things around.

Wright-Phillips said his former team-mate does not run away from challenges such as Everton is facing now but would face them squarely

Lampard is in danger of being sacked any moment from now after yet another defeat on Friday.

Everton crashed out of the FA Cup on Friday after they were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford

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Frank Lampard has now led Toffees to six defeats in their last seven matches and they have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup and are currently 18th in the Premier League.

“Frank Lampard has always been a player and a person that won’t run away from things not going well,” Wright-Phillips told the BBC.

“He is the type of person to try and solve it or try and make the situation a lot better…”

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