Ghana players have partied their way into the World Cup quarter finals.
Members of the squad were out at a casino until 2am the day before tonight’s showdown with Uruguay in Johannesburg.
Daniel Agyei, Jonathan Mensah and Isaac Vorsah were in the Sun City Hotel casino with their coach Milovan Rajevac giving them permission to stay up late and enjoy themselves.
And in stark contrast to Fabio Capello’s England boot camp, the different approach has clearly worked for Ghana, who have been the surprise package of the tournament.
Even without their best player and leader, Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, Ghana have emerged from a tough Group, knocked out USA and are now in confident mood before facing Uruguay.
Despite being let off the leash in the Sun City resort near their Cabanas hotel, Ghana midfielder Jonathan Mensah says they are the fittest team at the tournament thanks to their tough training programme.
Teenager Mensah, who plays for Udinese and is not related to Sunderland defender John Mensah, insists they do not drink and do not even know how to gamble but enjoy the atmosphere.
Mensah said: “Our coach gives us a lot of freedom. He trusts us. But we always train hard and we’re very fit.
“We can go for a stroll here anytime we like. He trusts us to be sensible, treats us like adults and we don’t abuse that trust.
“We come to the casino but don’t know how to gamble. We’ve not been drinking alcohol either.
“It’s a long time from home, it’s a lively place here but we’re always on the training ground every day, working hard.
“We really believe we are going to do it for Africa. We are the fittest and strongest team at the World Cup.
“We don’t fear anyone. We’ve played well so far, we’re getting better and have more confidence with every game.”
Ghana have now moved out of their hotel at Sun City after flying to Johannesburg for tonight’s quarter final. But one hotel worker said: “I think those boys will be back. They loved it here. They were always around.”
Uruguay’s former Manchester United forward Diego Forlan insists his team can end the hopes of Africa’s remaining team in the World Cup.
Atletico Madrid striker Forlan said: “We are well prepared – we are having a good World Cup. We are following the instructions of [coach Oscar] Tabarez and we are confident we can reach the semi-finals to give joy to our people.”