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Stars' Recruits to test Brazil's mettle

BY: Kweku Zurek
Tariq Lamptey
Tariq Lamptey

Ghana's Black Stars will test their readiness for the 2022 FIFA World Cup against five-time world champions and perennial favourites, Brazil, at a yet-to-be-named venue in Europe on September 23, 2022.

The pre-World Cup thriller was announced by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) last Friday as one of the two FIFA match-day features between September 19 and 27, 2022. The period become vacant after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) postponed the next round of qualifiers for next year's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire. The last-minute move by the CAF was to allow the continent's five World Cup representatives to prepare adequately for the tournament in Qatar.
Ghana was due to face Angola in a double-header in Group E of the AFCON qualifiers.

Brazil test

The Brazilians, ranked as the best men's team by FIFA, represent a perfect test for Coach Otto Addo's team - ranked 60th and the lowest-ranked side at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The upcoming international friendly is a blessing in disguise for the Ghanaians who will face another South American side in Uruguay and a stylistically similar side in Portugal at the Mundial.

It will also provide Coach Addo with a platform to continue the assessment of his players, especially his "new recruits" in the build up to the World Cup. The likes of Inaki Williams (Atletic Bilbao), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion), Stephan Ambrosius (Karlsruhe SC on-loan from Hamburger SV), Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer (Hamburger SV) and Patric Pfeiffer (SV Darmstadt 98) who completed nationality switches in July, as well as Mohammed Salisu (Southampton), are expected to earn their first international caps for the Black Stars.

Catching the eye of the technical handlers of the Black Stars will see them gatecrash Ghana's 26-man squad for the tournament.

The Black Stars are scheduled to play Portugal on November 24, South Korea (November 28) and Uruguay (December 2) in Group H, while Brazil are in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Interestingly, Ghana has another pre-World Cup friendly already lined up against Brazil's Group H opponent Switzerland on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the Baniyas Club Stadium in Abu Dhabi, a week before their first group game at Qatar 2022.

History

Brazil and Ghana have clashed four times, with the Little Canary (as the Brazil team is nicknamed) winning all.

Their first ever meeting was a friendly in 1996, with Brazil parading stars such as Rivaldo, Dida, Aldair, Juninho to thump a 10-man Ghana side 8-2 after Emmanuel Osei Kuffour was sent off.

Featuring for the Black Stars on that occasion included Black Stars goalkeepers' trainer, Richard Kingson, Tony Yeboah, who scored one of Ghana's goals, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Emmanuel Duah, Daniel Addo and Nii Lamptey.

Their second meeting was during Ghana's first appearance at the Germany 2006 World Cup Round of 16 stage which Brazil won 3-0.

However, the margin was much closer in similar friendlies in March 27, 2007 and September 5, 2011, both of which ended 1-0 in favour of the South Americans.