Stars to redeeem image against Egypt

BY: Chris Nunoo

The Black Stars of Ghana will tomorrow play for pride in yet another epic encounter against the Pharoahs of Egypt in a final Group E World Cup qualifier at the Cape Coast Stadium.

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The Egyptians have already booked the sole ticket in the group ahead of Uganda, Ghana and Congo who, per the standings before tomorrow’s clash, have eight points, six points and one point respectively. The Pharaohs lead the group with 12 points.

From the start, the Black Stars, led by Israeli Coach Avram Grant, were optimistic of qualifying for their fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup after Germany, South Africa and Brazil, but were overtaken by events when they blew the chance to book their first three points and drew goalless with the Cranes of Uganda at the Tamale Stadium.

That notwithstanding, Ghana continued to fight for the slot and hoped for an improved result against the Pharoahs of Egypt during the second qualifier at their backyard but lost 0-2 to the Egyptians in Alexandria.

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Egypt, however, fumbled against the Cranes of Uganda in Kampala, but with their destiny in their hands against Congo at the Baba Yara Stadium, the Black Stars again could not keep the chase on the Pharoahs. The Congolese frustrated the Ghanaians and split the points.

But just when many Ghanaians thought all hope was lost, the Black Stars quickly recovered and collected all three points from the Congolese when they thrashed them 1-5 in Brazzaville, However, a late goal denied the Stars by South African referee Daniel Bennett against the Cranes in Kampala threw Ghana’s chance of qualifying overboard as the determined Pharoahs did all they could to deflate the ego of the Congolese with a vital 1-0 win which turned out to be the Group E decider in Alexandria, Egypt.

Against Egypt tomorrow, there will be not much at stake, but the Stars are guided by history and also have their image on the line.

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The Ghanaians also know about the Egyptians’ resolve to avenge their 6-1 humiliation during a similar World Cup qualifier for the Brazil 2014 at the Baba Yara Stadium and put the icing on the cake for their fans.

To that end, the Black Stars who are likely to miss skipper Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu, who are reported to be injured, are ready to muddy the waters for the visitors.

Coach Kwasi Appiah, himself an ex-Black Stars captain, is very much aware of the rivalry between Ghana and Egypt and has promised to stop the Egyptians in their tracks, at least to salvage some pride.

Returnee, Mubarak Wakaso, and striker, Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, expected to step into the shoes of their injured colleagues as the Stars call for massive support from Cape Coast fans who will be hosting them for the first time.