Ghana’s Black Stars begin their journey to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a double header against the Cranes of Uganda in their first World Cup qualifier before flying out to clash with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in a friendly game next Tuesday.
The Cranes played against the Stars in the group qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, holding the Stars to a 1-1 draw in Kampala before losing 0-2 in Kumasi 11 years ago.
Hitherto, the Cranes could not be described among the giants of Africa football but since their shocking draw at the Baba Yara Stadium, they have grown in confidence to beat the Stars in the return leg and if Avram Grant wants to make a fourth consecutive appearance at the Mundial then Uganda would be his biggest threat.
Today, Uganda have players plying their trade in very competitive leagues, including Russia, Germany, USA, South Africa and Scotland.
This is why the Stars must be careful against the likes of Moses Oloya (Kuban Krasnodar), Michael Azira (Colorado Rapids) Geofrey Massa (Bloemfontein Celtic) Farouk Miya (Standard Liege), Melvyn Lorenzen (Weder Bremen), among others who could be a threat to the Black Stars.
Coach Grant is epxected to field his strongest possible team comprising players such as skipper Asamoah Gyan, Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Afriyie Acquah and Jordan Ayew to get their campaign off to a winning start against a difficult East African opposition.
Victory in today’s game would put the team in high spirit as they play the Bafana Bafana in their friendly in Durban on Tuesday. The outcome of this game is insignificant but it would boost the team’s morale in their next Group E game against Egypt in Cairo.