Essien sees Ghana through
Michael Essien found the scoresheet as Ghana beat Sudan to become the first African WC qualifiers.
Last Updated: 24/11/09 4:49pm
Michael Essien found the scoresheet as Ghana defeated Sudan 2-0 to become the first African qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.
The runaway leaders of Group D maintained their 100 per cent record in Accra with another solid performance to create an unassailable seven-point advantage.
Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari opened the scoring before Essien doubled the lead soon after half-time with a rocket shot to the near post.
With nearest challengers Benin and Mali drawing 1-1, Ghana secured qualification with two games still to play.
"It was so important to win," said Essien. "Regardless of how we achieved the result.
"It is still special for us professionals to return home and bring joy to the people of Ghana.
"Teamwork brought us success as in previous qualifiers. The side did not feel under pressure because we are used to playing in front of packed crowds like the one in Accra tonight.
"The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down. What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa."
Serbia-born coach Milovan Rajevac said: "It is a priceless honour for my players to represent their country and qualify for the World Cup.
"This team is very hungry to go to the finals again. My players are aware of what they can achieve and have the quality to go far. I always believed we would qualify and am very confident about the future."
Ghana join Australia, Brazil, Japan, Holland, North Korea, South Korea and hosts South Africa in the qualifiers already confirmed.