The obvious message Ghana’s Black Stars have been sending their fans since they began preparations for this evening’s World Cup qualifiers is: The Sudan will fall in Ondurman.
For a side that had chalked back-to-back success against the same team on the same turf in similar circumstances, that should not be a difficult task.
However, in football, there are no such guarantees and that is why the Stars would have to tread cautiously in tonight’s encounter.
Even though, The Sudan had been tough customers for the Stars in the past, the Ghanaians have prevailed in recent times and they head into this game bolstered by the recent successes they have chalked against the Nile Crocodiles.
The Stars beat Sudan back-to- back (2-0 in Ondurman and Kumasi) during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and have strongly indicated their intentions to repeat the dose. Already they have won a game, beating the Sudanese 4-0 in the first leg played in Kumasi last March.
The Sudan, who lost three valuable points against Zambia for fielding an unqualified player in the very first game of these qualifiers, have nothing to lose other than scupper the Stars’ party so it will be up to Coach Kwasi Appiah and his men to take the battle to them.
While the Stars are second with six points, The Sudan are last with just a point and have very little chance of advancing to the last round of the qualifiers should they win tonight’s game.
At home and cheered on by an intimidating home fans, they certainly will come resolute and stubborn, and are capable of creating all kinds of trouble for any side that face them without composure, as they did against Zambia before the Chipolopolos reclaimed the points from the boardroom.
Tonight, the Stars should take nothing for granted and must show compatibility in midfield and fluidity to harass the opponents’ defence.
The Stars must go into the game with this at the back of their minds: They are fighting hard to dislodge Zambia from the top of Group D standings and the only way to achieve that in the last three remaining matches is winning. Anything else will not be good enough to keep them on the road to Brazil 2014.
With most of the serious preparations done in Ethiopia away from the prying eyes of the media, it is not clear what the likely starting line up would be. However, if the players who featured in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have maintained their form, then this could be the starting line up:
Fatau Dauda, Harrison Afful, Samuel Inkoom, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Rabiu Mohammed, Mubarak Wakaso, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan.
Source: Daily Graphic
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