The journey to next year’s Championship of African Nations (CHAN) competition to be staged in Kenya for Ghana’s Black Stars B, begins tomorrow with an away qualifier against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou.
Having missed out on the last edition, the Stars B are determined to return to the competition and are thus poised to begin their qualifying campaign on an impressive note despite this cagey encounter.
Though they showed so much promise in their previous appearances at the CHAN where they lost the final in the maiden edition to DR Congo in 2009 as well as in 2014, they failed to keep up that show, missing out in the 2015 edition
Tomorrow, the team would be presented with another opportunity to make amends as they put their best foot forward in picking one of the 15 slots for the Kenya competition.
The obvious change in the technical composition of the team, as well as the desire of the players to also make a name for themselves, will be the driving force for the Stars as they seek to overcome the stubborn Burkinabes, to make the second leg in Kumasi a more easier task.
As the new head of the technical team, James Kwasi Appiah, has a rich depth of experience in this competition having helped Serbian Milovan Rajevac, to win silver at the maiden edition and the overwhelming support he has from his assistant, Maxwell Konadu, provides a strong united front, as they set off to conquer Burkina Faso.
Indeed, the Stars B, have had a ‘near perfect’ preparations, going through some rigorous trial matches against Gambia (2-1), Togo (2-1) , Olympics (2-0) and Elmina Sharks (1-0). The trajectory of results points to a positive direction for the team.
Nonetheless, Ouagadougou is a different terrain where the host are also determined to grab a slot to the finals of the competition to enable them to showcase their homegrown talents for the international market.
The technical team have identified set pieces as one of the strong points of the Burkinabes, and it is assumed that they have employed the right strategy to foil such dangerous moves from their hosts.
Luckily, Appiah has handed call ups to some of the finest stars on the local scene including goalkeeper, Felix Annan, Amos Frimpong, Winful Cobbinah, Thomas Abbey, Fatau Mohammed, Gideon Waja, Samuel Sarfo and Awal Mohammed who have all distinguished themselves in the local league.
These quality players appear to give the technical team selection headache as Konadu earlier admitted: “It is difficult for us to select players who will travel with the team to Burkina Faso and even selection of the first XI is also a big problem because the competition in camp is very great and the players are all in good shape.
“So far we have been doing well in friendly matches and we hope to translate this performances to the main games and even do much better,” Konadu said of the team.
As much as the task looks daunting, the Black Stars team B would be hoping to kick start their qualification on a flying note by beating their opponent to put them in a comfortable position for the rest of the qualifiers.
The 18 players who are in Burkina Faso are: Felix Annan, Joseph Addo, Amos Frimpong, Awal Mohammed, Nuhu Musah, Samuel Sarfo, Gideon Waja, Isaac Twum, Winful Cobbinah, Fatau Mohammed, Patrick Razak, Zakaria Mumuni, Thomas Abbey, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Saddick Adams and Ibrahim Moro.