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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Ghana's inside knowledge
BBC Sport Online's Martin Davies speaks to former Ghanaian legend Abdul Razak who has plenty of inside knowledge when it comes to Mali's Cup of Nations.

In the run up to the Cup of Nations finals in Mali, it would seem that the Black Stars of Ghana have the advantage of having a man on the ground in Bamako.

Abdul Razak, who was African footballer of the year in 1978 and lifted the cup with Ghana in the same year, is now based in the Malian capital as coach of Malian champions Stade Malien.

His time in Mali so far has been a resounding success.

Divided loyalties

He arrived at the beginning of the last season and led his new side to a League and cup double, and the side set a new record, by winning the league without losing a single game.

So it would seem that Razak may have divided loyalties as the Cup approaches.

"Thankfully the two teams are not in the same group so I have said that I am happy to help the Ghanaian team if they need me," he said.

"I will always try to do the best for my country even though I am in Mali."

But Razak admits to being a bit concerned about the prospect of the two sides meeting later in the competition.

"If they meet Mali I may have to go back to Ghana," he joked.

"It will be OK is Ghana loses but if Ghana wins the Malians may think I have helped them."

Either way Ghana will at least be able to call on Razak's experience and his inside knowledge of the country.

For that, he says, he is only too happy to help.

Razak admits though that he has his concerns about Ghana's fourth bid to win the Cup of Nations title.

He said that without Abedi Pele they are not the force they once were and few players have stood out as potential replacements.

Although one did spring to mind.

"I think Stephen Appiah at Parma is the one we can rely on at the moment to win games for us," he said.

"He could be the difference."

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