Ghana duo target MLS Cup success
Ghana pair Jonathan Mensah and Harrison Afful are eyeing a first major title in Major League Soccer as Columbus Crew prepare for their Conference final against Toronto City FC.
Mensah and Afful are expected to line up for Crew together - as they have often done for the Black Stars - on Tuesday night with the aim of helping their club gain the advantage in the first leg, but they are driven by individual ambitions too.
Mensah is looking for his first major title at club level with Crew; Afful wants to add the MLS title to a trophy cabinet that includes four Tunisia championships with Esperance and two African Champions League titles.
"We were close the season I arrived here but we lost to Portland Timbers so I really want to correct that," Mensah told KweseESPN.
"I have won a few trophies in my career and being able to add one from the MLS will feel special."
Apart from a ceremonial pre-season title during his time with Free State Stars in South Africa, Mensah's experience of winning trophies has come with the Ghana U-20 team, with whom he won the African and world title in 2009.
"There has been no title of note at club level so I am determined for that to change," Mensah added.
"I have settled in well here after a difficult time so it will be a real pleasure to finish the season with a title."
To do that, Mensah and his teammates have to get past a Toronto FC side who blew opponents apart in the regular season.
However, the Canadian team will be without the suspended duo of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco but Afful does not consider that an advantage.
"I think in the regular season they beat us without Giovinco and Altidore so I am not sure if that will make any difference," Afful said.
"The most important thing is that we are up for it."
Whichever way the Eastern Conference final first leg goes, Mensah says he has enjoyed his debut season.
"I like the play-off system here. It means you can always make amends for the lapses during the season and as a player and the club we have done exactly that. I really want it to end well now."