The Black Stars of Ghana will begin their journey to the World Cup in Russia 2018 with a tricky game against a stubborn Cranes side who took four points from the Stars during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
The Cranes are buoyed by the fact that they have qualified for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Gabon. It is the first time in 39 years that they have secured qualification.
They come into this one with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm and if you add this to the fact that they are the only side to pick four points from a possible six against the Stars in the last ten years it makes this very interesting.
Tonny Mawejje scored the goal when the Cranes last visited Ghana and he is now based in Iceland, he is of the view that sealing qualification to the World Cup in Russia will be a dream for his nation.
“When you look at the qualification, we don’t play different teams from those we face in AFCON qualifiers,” he argued.
“It’s the same teams and that gives us courage and hope that if we do work hard and together as a team, we can achieve the dream,” he added.
In the same line, Ghana’s Israeli head coach Avram Grant is of the view that the Cranes will be a hard nut to crack and this game provides a different challenge.
“I don’t think it will be an easy game but our target is same, to win and do everything to be in Russia,” he said.
“We are playing against a very strong side but we have the quality to overcome them. The most important thing is we finish first in the group,” he added.
Team News for the Black Stars:
Avram Grant will be missing long term absentees Andre Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoh but he welcomes back Asamoah Gyan who has missed the last three games for his country due to injuries.
Gyan in particular has been assertive in camp and it will be interesting to see if Leicester City midfielder Daniel Amartey will profit from his form at club level.
Team News for the Cranes:
Goalie Denis Onyango who missed the 1-0 loss to Togo trained with the rest of his teammates on Wednesday before the team left for Accra from Lome by road.
The 19 man squad is all safe and sound and is expected to feel the turf at Tamale on Thursday evening.
Hamis ‘Diego’ Kiiza and Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito are all back in contention after missing the Comoros tie while Denis Iguma also returns.
The defender missed the game against Comoros due to suspension and it remains to be seen whether he walk straight into the team after an impressive show by Nicholas Wadada.
Facts about Ghana and Uganda clash:
What you need to know
- Ghana beat lowly ranked Comoros 2-0 on aggregate to reach this stage while Uganda eliminated Togo 4-0.
- The last time Ghana beat Uganda was on September 4, 2005 in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The game ended 2-0 and the Black Stars went on to qualify for Germany 2006.
- Since 2002, the two teams have met 7 times (including friendlies). Ghana have won twice as many Uganda while the rest have been stalemates.
- Overall, the two nations have met 12 times. Ghana hold advantage with 6 wins, 3 losses and 3 draws.
- Ghana has played at three World Cup finals (2006, 2010 and 2014) while Uganda have never played at the finals.
- Besides Uganda and Ghana, the other members in the group are Egypt and Congo Brazzaville.
By: Rahman Osman/citifmonline.com/Ghana