Stars upbeat about US clash

BY: Bernard Neequaye
Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah (left) and his assistant, Ibrahim Tanko
Black Stars coach Kwasi Appiah (left) and his assistant, Ibrahim Tanko

Ghana’s Black Stars will end their US tour tomorrow, hoping to return home with a win over old foes USA when they clash at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Connecticut.

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After their convincing 5-0 thrashing of Ethiopia in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier earlier this month, the Stars unfortunately lost 0-1 to Mexico at the NRG Stadium in Houston last Wednesday night after John Boye had gifted the Mexicans a penalty in the 32nd minute.

But Coach Kwasi Appiah has described the loss to the Mexicans as a facade, noting that the result did not reflect the actual performance of the two teams since the Stars dominated most part of the match.

He, therefore, hopes to exploit the gains of the Mexico game against the Yankees in tomorrow’s encounter which provides him and the Stars a good opportunity to avenge the 1-2 loss they suffered at the hands of the Americans at the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup in Natal.

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Ibrahim Tanko, the Stars’ first assistant coach, was on the same wavelength with his head coach on the impressive output of their new-look team against the Mexicans.

“We lost but we played so well. We had a lot of chances and should have scored a minimum of four goals,” he told the Graphic Sports in a chat yesterday before the team emplaned to Connecticut.

“We had a Mexican-American referee who even used an ‘f’ word against Frank Acheampong, but honestly, we are so happy about the way the boys are playing.

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‘It gives us more hope for the future,” Tanko stated.

In tomorrow’s encounter, skipper Asamoah Gyan is likely to lead the Stars attack unlike the Mexico game where he came on as a substitute mainly to inspire his young teammates to upset the Americans.

US coach, Bruce Arena, has named a strong squad comprising a blend of young and experienced players for the match aimed at preparing them adequately for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 7.

A win by the Yankees will also close the statistics gap between them and the Ghanaians in five matches played so far. The Stars have won four times against the Americans, including victories in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, while the latter’s only win was the one in Brazil.