'Pele had Ghana in mind!' – World Cup trophy dream as Black Stars prepare for Ronaldo and Co

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Pele "had Ghana in mind" when he predicted a team from Africa would eventually win the World Cup, the country's president said on Friday.

As the Black Stars set off for Qatar, hopes are high at home that the 2010 quarter-finalists can have another strong tournament.

Brazil great Pele forecast in the 1970s that a team from Africa would win football's greatest global title before the end of the century.

That did not come to fruition, and Africa has yet to produce a World Cup semi-finalist. Few would expect that to change in Qatar 2022, and Ghana enter the tournament as long shots.

The opening game for Otto Addo's team comes on November 24 against Portugal, who should have superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said: "A long time ago, the greatest footballer that's ever lived, the Brazilian Pele, said that very soon an African country is going to lift that trophy, and I know that he had in mind Ghana.

"Let's all together rally around the young men and the team and make sure we give them our maximum support.

"They're going to go a long way away in Doha and Qatar, but they should know the entire nation, without distinction of politics, or religion, or ethnicity; the entire Ghanaian nation are 100 per cent solidly behind them."

Ghana will also face South Korea and Uruguay in Group H, and the Professional Footballers Association of Ghana (PFAG) challenged the team to "hoist the flag of Ghana even higher on global football's ultimate stage".

"As the mother body of all professional footballers in the country, the PFAG expects a sterling showing from our gallant warriors to make all Ghanaians proud," the association said in a statement.

"We wish the playing body the very best as they lace up their boots to do battle on the world stage.

"To the technical bench, we urge you to continue doing your utmost and to leave no stone unturned in mapping out our assured paths to victory.

"Finally, to all teeming and passionate fans of the Black Stars, we ask that you enjoin us in fervent prayer and resounding support for our Stars!

"Let's chant and sing in one voice to push our team beyond all hurdles in their quest to shine bright in Qatar!"