Four years ago this was the biggest game in Africa, World Cup qualifiers for Brazil 2014, but when Ghana face Egypt in the final qualifying game in group D there will be nothing at stake. Egypt are already through to Russia 2018 but for Ghana the stakes may still be very high. Here are FOUR reasons why this will still matter a lot to the Black Stars.
Restoration of pride
Ghana has not won a single game at home in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers so far which is a miserable record for a country that has consistently made home a fortress in world cup qualifying. There is also the small matter of restoring some pride against the Pharoahs. Since Ghana’s famous 6-1 mauling of Egypt, the Pharaohs have gone on to record three wins over the Black Stars in that period. Two of those wins came in World Cup Qualifiers and one at the 2017 Nations Cup group stage. Sunday against an Egypt side in party mood offers the best opportunity for revenge against the Pharoahs.
Appiah’s rebuilding process
Everyone knew the world cup was almost mission impossible by the time Appiah returned to the Black Stars fold. What everyone knows too is that the 2019 Nations Cup is the one he will really be judged by so every game counts towards that and Appiah’s squads have reflected that. Two wins and a draw in the last three games for Ghana is a good omen but even more important for Appiah is the fact that he has done that by ignoring some of the biggest names in Ghana football while handing many players a chance to stake their claim.
There is an opportunity for Mubarak Wakaso to restore his Black Stars place after being frozen out previously by Appiah and there are three debutants in his squad to face Egypt. Players such as Abas Mohammed from Harrisburg City, USA, Nasiru Mohammed of BK Hacken in Sweden and Nana Ampomah who plays for Belgium side Waasland-Beveren provide proof that Appiah is looking for his best squad possible before his mighty quest to win Ghana a first nations cup since 1982. In that sense Sunday against a team as good as Egypt could provide many clues about individual players and the collective will and ability to compete at the highest level.
With Appiah’s rebuilding process in full swing, there are a number of players determined to cash in on the opportunity offered by the boss when duty calls for Black Stars assignment. Italy-based midfielder Godfred Donsah is hoping to be third time lucky with the Black Stars after injuries wrecked his recent call-ups. The highly rated Bologna star is one of the three players in line to make their Ghana debut against Egypt. He is joined by left back Abas Mohammed who plays in the US second tier for Harrisburg City. Then there is Nana Ampomah who is based in Belgium. Others like Edwin Gyasi would all be looking forward to the chance to state their credentials loud and clear.
The battle to lead Ghana line
It is clearly Richmond Boakye-Yiadom’s time. The striker who has scored 33 goals in 2017, is back on international duty and is bursting with confidence again. Two goals away in Congo suggested he could lead the Ghana line too and Egypt provides him perhaps the biggest chance to scream those credentials loud again. The battle to become Ghana’s leading front man will not be easy for Appiah to judge with Majeed Warris back, Boakye Yiadom in good form, Raphael Dwamena available and Gyan determined to hang around for long.
By Nana Kojo Afreh |TV3|3news.com