In the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Sunday, Ghana’s Black Stars will be out to defend their readiness for a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance when they clash against the Pharaohs in a first leg Africa group qualifying match.
Doubts over whether Ghana can make it to the World Cup in Russia in 2018 have become commonplace after the Stars dropped vital home points in their first leg group qualifying game against the Ugandan Cranes in Tamale, while the Egyptians grabbed maximum points in their away encounter against Congo Brazzaville.
Having made it three times on the trot to previous mundials in Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, the Stars must have become accustomed to the drill in the African qualifiers to make Sunday’s encounter a formality.
But we dare say this cannot be taken for granted, as it really appears to be the Rubicon that Ghana must cross to nurse any hopes of being competitive in the group.
It is by no means an easy match, as the implications of the mathematical outcomes are well known to every Ghanaian. The least the Stars can scoop is a draw, as anything less than that will amount to a lost dream.
For the Egyptians, it is a home advantage they would like to exploit to the fullest, since such an outcome will see Ghana five points adrift.
And what makes our situation look even more dire is the fact that the Stars enter this match minus their captain and arrow head in attack, Asamoah Gyan, as well as midfield support Kwadwo Asamoah.
Even deputy captain Dede Ayew, who leads the team on Sunday, enters the field not fully fit, as he has been bogged down by injury for some time now.
We, however, take respite in the fact that the short training undertaken by the team in the Dubai camp en route to Alexandria should suffice their battle readiness for Sunday.
We hope the Stars achieve beyond our wildest dreams. Good luck!
It is Thinking Aloud!
Writing under the heading: ‘20-Club what?’ in this column of our Midweek Edition last Wednesday, we inferred that “club executives have begun thinking allowed”, instead of ‘thinking aloud’.
It was inadvertent and we very much regret the error.