Stars search for new friendly opponents

Soccer News of Monday, 2 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Black Stars 2015 Selfie

Ghana’s senior football team, the Black Stars, are looking for a replacement for Nigeria for their intended friendly on March 29 following the cancellation of the match by football’s world governing body, FIFA.

All arrangements had been made for the two continental superpowers to slug it out in London on the FIFA international free day. However, last Friday, FIFA ruled against the match, citing a breach of the regulation that bars teams to play on two different continents within a travelling time of more than five hours and five days.

The regulation has affected Nigeria, who have agreed to play Bolivia at their new stadium in Uyo on March 23, before travelling to London for the Ghana friendly.

Confirming the news to Graphic Sports, Sannie Darra, the Communications Director of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) said the association was looking for a new African opponent to fill the gap and that could be decided by the end of the week.

“I can confirm that for the reasons in the FIFA regulation, the March 29 friendly between Ghana and Nigeria in London has been cancelled. It is disappointing because it has thrown our programme out of gear.

“The match will form part of our preparations towards the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers that kicks off in June, so we have to look for new teams to fill the gap. We will want to play African opponents because of the assignments ahead. Hopefully, by the end of the week, we should finalise talks with two teams,” Darra explained.

The cancellation of the Ghana-Nigeria match will no doubt be a big disappointment to both fans and organisers, considering what the two teams bring to the table and the rivalry between them.

Nigeria, who as 2013 AFCON champions, failed to qualify for the 2015 event, would have loved to put up their strength against the Black Stars who finished as runners-up at the 2015 event which ended in Equatorial Guinea last month.