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Black Stars seek to make amends against Qatar

BY: Peter Sarbah
Ghana's head coach, Charles Akonnor

Ghana’s Black Stars will be aiming to make amends following their humiliating defeat to Mali when they play Qatar at the Mardan Sports Complex in Turkey, later today at 3.30 pm.

Last Friday’s game was a huge embarrassment to Coach Charles Kwabla Akonnor since it was his first assignment as the head coach of the national team. He will, however, have a fine opportunity to rewrite the script against the Asian champions.

It will be Ghana’s first game against the Asians whose team has gone through remarkable transformation under their new coach, Felix Sanchez. He has guided them into Asian champions in 2019 where they scored 19 goals and conceded only one.

Ghana, on the other hand, are on a rebuilding process, and with some of Coach Akonnor’s debutants unable to live up to expectation, it will be difficult for the Ghana gaffer to assemble a different set of squad to face Qatar.

To avoid the wrath of the already angered Ghanaians, Coach Akonnor will have to work hard to scale yet another defeat in this second game and ensure his defence play a water-tight game and not give the Asians too much space to operate.

Thomas Partey, who failed to exert himself on the game last Friday after he was played out of position, must also revert to his withholding midfield role as the best option to provide cover for the backline.

Clearly, the Qatari’s performance at the 2019 Asian championship explains how compact they play at defence; they do not easily give out goals and the Black Stars coach must find a way of breaking into the iron-clad defence to ensure they get victory.

Ghana’s attacking line up which is led by Jordan Ayew is yet to score and they must show some sign of hunger and determination to win in this particular game as against what Ghanaians saw against Mali last Friday.

Although this game is just a friendly, victory could boost their confidence ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game against Sudan next month, as well as improve their FIFA ranking.

It is likely Coach Akonnor could miss the services of Nicholas Opoku who picked a knock during last Friday game and in his stead, the Ghana gaffer could introduce Joseph Aidoo.

Ghanaians will eagerly be watching how Turkish International referee Huseyin Gocek, who has been appointed to officiate today’s friendly International, would perform. Football fans hope his officiating will bring good result.