Sports News of Tuesday, 8 August 2017
FIFA have forced Ghana to play Congo in the 2018 World Cup qualifier on a working day that will deny the Black Stars of the maximum support needed to win the crucial game.
The Black Stars will host the Red Devils at the Baba Yara Stadium on 1 September which is a Friday – a working day in Ghana.
The decision by the world governing body comes because of the tightness of the calendar and television schedule as qualifiers for the tournament in Russia resume this month.
This will deny the Black Stars the chance of getting the massive support they got the last time when they defeated Ethiopia 5-0 in the Africa Cup Nations qualifier at the same venue.
Fans in Ghana normally support their team at the weekends and with the crucial match being played during the week, the team will be robbed of the full support.
The return leg will be played four days later in Brazzaville at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat.
The Black Stars are seeking to revive their chances in Group E after poor start under erstwhile coach Avram Grant.
Kwesi Appiah will be handling his first World Cup qualifier since taking charge two months ago.
Ghana are in third place with one point from the available six; five behind leaders Egypt who play second place Uganda on 31 August in Kampala.
The second leg of the tie will honoured at the Alexandria Stadium five days later in Alexandria.
According to the referee Kingston had to beg the referee not to retaliate as locals encouraged the match official to go for his pound of flesh against Muntari who is infamous over his disciplinary problems.
The referee John Terry narrated how Sulley Muntari slapped him and ended a friendly game abruptly which was highly anticipated by locals.
“There was a small infringement which I didn’t see earlier so I stopped the game and decided to replay it as fair-play in favour of Sulley’s side,” referee John Terry narrates what during the friendly game between Sulley Muntari XI and Laryea Kingston XI at the Kotobabi Wembley in Accra.
“Unfortunately he (Sulley) grabbed the ball with his two hands and I gave him a yellow card for that on the field of play. He was not pleased and came straight to slap my face and I showed him a red card and he took the ball and played it out of the field of play.
“I was surprised and the players around couldn’t do anything since all were similarly surprised too.”
“When that happened, players of both sides talked to me not to retaliate and forget. Laryea Kingston spoke to me to let things go and at that moment I let go.”
Muntari was sacked in disgrace at the 2014 World Cup for his physical attack on a management member of the Ghana national team at the tournament in Brazil.
He was also booted out of Ghana’s team at the Olympic Games in Athens for disciplinary reasons which having clashes with team-mates and opponents at club side.
Muntari recently drew sympathy over some racist abuse he suffered but his actions in Kotobabi will certainly paint a bad picture about his conduct.