Jerome Otchere writes: Difficult duel in Abuja

Will Coach Otto Addo alter the lineup for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Nigeria or stick to the first leg setup? I don’t believe there’ll be significant changes to our team but where drastic alterations must come is their scoring. 

Goals. And winning this game is what Ghana expects. These are the only means through which the Black Stars would grab the ticket to November’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Our inability to score in the first leg wasn’t particularly disturbing as the marked improvements in the team’s performance became the talking point.

It’s that which has lifted hearts with the belief that, Nigeria would fall under the feet of Ghana. That’s easy to say, the real question is whether Ghana’s victory will materialise. Apart from the dripping confidence from the fine Kumasi display, one of our hopes lies in the history of the rivalry between us – and in which we’ve had the most victories including triumphs in Nigeria’s backyard.

When it was put to Austin Eguavoen at the post-match conference in Kumasi that, Ghana, in the 1970s beat Nigeria after drawing at home in notable games, the Nigeria coach’s response was: that’s long gone. They’re focusing on the present. The present story is, Nigeria start as favourites and given how they firmly held us in the first leg, it’s unwise to completely write them off.

They’ll have massive support as government offices in Abuja are closing early to allow fans turn up at the stadium. The 60,000-seater Moshood Abiola Stadium is to be filled to the brim but that shouldn’t intimidate Ghana. The Black Stars arrived in Abuja Monday afternoon and trained in the evening. All the players are in good shape for action.

READ ALSO:  Death penalty for Nigerian who murdered a lady he lured to a 'job interview'

Coach Otto Addo insists we’re in Abuja to win. “The result doesn’t change anything. When we go there we want to win.” Otto Addo further acknowledges Nigeria’s quality and underlines the respect for Ghana as he references the goalless outcome in Kumasi. “They’ve high quality players but they’ve got respect for us and I thought the match in Kumasi was equal in terms of performance.”

The Black Stars’ task of winning this game is difficult but not insurmountable. If our back line can hold the raids by Nigeria, I’m confident our midfield, where our strength is, will cushion us well enough to score. Our attack have the greater responsibility to burst out with goals and if they do, it’ll very interesting to see how the Super Eagles cancel our goals to reach the Qatar World Cup.