Former Black Stars right-back John Paintsil claims that the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is a tougher competition than the World Cup for African teams.
The ex-Fulham man represented the Black Stars at both the AFCON and the World Cup, and was part of the squad that reached the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Looking back over his career, and comparing his experiences in both competitions, Paintsil has explained why he believes the Nations Cup is the more challenging competition.
“I think the Africa Cup of Nations is stronger than the World Cup because Africans, we know ourselves, and the competition is very high,” he told Goal.
“I’m not going to talk about the officiating side [of things], because the officiating is fantastic, but when we’re playing African countries against each other, we call it a derby, a local derby, and it’s very different—it pushes us.”
“[The AFCON] gives us more strength to work and to prepare for the World Cup, but for me, the AFCON is always tougher than the World Cup itself,” he added.
“It gives the players experience, and an idea of competing in these tournaments, so for [Ghana], the Nations Cup pushed us to where we got to in the World Cup,” he concluded.
Paintsil, who amassed 89 caps for Ghana, represented the Black Stars at five AFCON tournaments as the country sought to end its wait for continental gold.
He was a semi-finalist on three occasions, in 2008, 2012 and 2013, but missed out on reaching the final each time.
He was also present for Ghana’s first two World Cup campaigns, helping the Stars reach the Last 16 in 2006 and the quarter-finals four years later.
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