Ghana’s Black Stars B will open their account at this year’s West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations when they take on Gambia’s Scorpions at the Cape Coast Stadium tomorrow (Saturday).
With $100,000 winner’s prize up for grabs, there are strong incentives to drive the 16 participating teams to their competitive best and the host team and head coach, Maxwell Konadu, carry the weight of expectation to succeed as the competition comes on the heels of the team’s failure to qualify for next year’s CHAN in Kenya.
The WAFU tournament offers Konadu and his charges a perfect opportunity to banish the CHAN 2018 fiasco and win Ghanaians back to the team.
Also, a good start by Ghana is important not only for the team but also to drive supporters to the match venues — Cape Coast Stadium and Nduom Sports Stadium at Elmina — during the September 9-24 tournament.
Despite having home advantage, Black Stars B must not expect an easy ride against the Scorpions tomorrow, and their recent 1-2 loss to Burkina Faso was a timely warning that the Gambians should not be taken lightly despite their relative lack of clout in African football.
Perhaps their disappointing outing in the CHAN qualifiers and the weight of expectation from Ghanaians will spur Coach Konadu and his charges on to start well tomorrow and qualify for the group stage from which two sides will move to the semi-finals.
Konadu and his players have been camping in Takoradi preparing for the tournament and look poised to beat the Gambians tomorrow.
The Ghana team is built around the Ghana Premier League’s best players, including Joseph Addo, Daniel Lomotey, Samuel Sarfo, Amos Frimpong, Stephen Sarfo, Gideon Waja, Winful Cobbinah, Thomas Abbey and Patrick Razak.
Preparations by the Scorpions of Gambian ahead of Saturday’s have gone smoothly after hammering Jarra Soma Best Eleven 5-0, with Coach Omar Sise confident his side are ready to give the Ghanaians a run for their money in the opening match.
After the Ghana vs Gambia game, attention shifts to the Cape Coast Stadium where Nigeria take on Sierra Leone in what promises to be an exciting encounter.
On Sunday, Senegal take on Liberia in their eliminator at the Cape Coast Stadium followed in the evening by a clash between Burkina Faso and Niger.