The goal that changed the face of the Black Stars

It was the 10th minute and Jordan Ayew received a throw from Gideon Mensah which the striker controlled with his chest and gave a pass back to Gideon Mensah who located Thomas Partey with a short pass.

The Arsenal midfielder controlled the ball to a favourable position and hit it from afar. The shot, despite feeble, was too difficult for Francis Uzoho to handle and the ball went into the net.

A charged Moshood Abiola went silent as the Black Stars ran to the corner flag to celebrate their early goal against Nigeria.

Nigeria had to score twice after the Partey goal to book a ticket to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup but despite getting the equalizer before the breakthrough William Troost-Ekong, they couldn’t get another goal to qualify to the Mundial.

The game ended 1-1 and by virtue of the away goal rule, Ghana qualified to the World Cup – the fourth time in their history.

Partey chose that goal as the biggest in his career and a portion of a citation read to him when he was being enstooled as a chief in his hometown captured the goal and its significance.

It was from that period that the Black Stars saw great progression and the face of Ghana’s national team changed completely.

Key Ghanaian players scattered across Europe agreed, naturalized and played for Ghana after many years of failed attempts.

Key amongst the players to agree to play for Ghana is Athletic Bilbao forward, Inaki Williams and Brighton Hove Albion right back, Tariq Lamptey.

Their additions have improved the Black Stars in terms of player quality – one thing the team has lacked over the past years.

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The last time Ghana played against a world champion in a friendly match was 11 years ago at Wembley when they played against England. It was a year after Ghana had qualified to the Quarter finals of the World Cup in South Africa.

Following the qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, they have a scheduled friendly game against Brazil on Friday, September 23, 2022 in France. Ghana will play a Brazil team with all their key players in that friendly.

Back home in Ghana, the buzz for the national team is gaining momentum and the fans, as they used to do previously, are following the team with keen interest.

It was that 10th minute strike at the Moshood Abiola Stadium that brought life into Ghana’s national team and they will be playing in Qatar with hopes of reaching the semi-finals this time round.

By Francis Hema