Sports News of Sunday, 7 August 2011
London, over the past five years has become Ghana’s home for senior international friendlies with the Black Stars having enjoyed a solid run since making hosting their debut against Australia.
Ghana has lined up against sides from the continent, the Caribbean, Australia, Asia and Europe all in London with no single defeat recorded against the last eight finishers at last year’s World Cup.
On Tuesday, the Black Stars return to London, this time to Watford’s Vicarage Road Stadium to play yet another friendly after their sell-out debut against England back in March. And their opponents are their fiercest rivals on the African continent, Nigeria.
The game would be the second meeting between both sides in a friendly in London after Ghana thumped the Super Eagles 4-1 three years ago in Brentford.
Lots have changed for the Ghana side and so has the Nigerian team evolved over the period.
Serbian, Goran Stevanovic is in charge of the team which looks almost different to the side that thrashed their rivals, the last time at the Griffin Park under French coach Claude Le Roy.
There is no Stephen Appiah, who has retired from international soccer, Michael Essien is out injured, Habib Mohammed, Shilla Illiasu, Laryea Kingston, Joe Tex Frimpong and Junior Agogo who have all not received call ups this time round.
However, Stevanovic doesn’t seem to lack quality with the emergence of Andre Ayew, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Daniel Opare, Kwadwo Asamoah, Prince Tagoe and Isaac Vorsah and bolstered by the experience of Ghana captain John Mensah, Asamoah Gyan, John Paintsil, goalkeeper Richard Kingson and Sulley Muntari - five players who were part of the side that beat Nigeria in that friendly and still in the team for Tuesday.
Many would be looking out for goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, who is expected to provide Kingson with competition as he gets to make debut.
"Of course I am happy that after the waiting I can now play for the Black Stars. I am now looking forward to it," the goalkeeper said.
"Kingson, as far as I know, is one of the best goalkeepers Ghana has produced and it will be a great honor to learn from him. I am still young at 23 for a goalkeeper and his experience I think will be valuable. But I am also a football player and like every ambitious one, I’m keen to play so I will train hard when I get in and make the most of my chance when it comes."
Also, the duo of Championship players, Albert Adomah and Prince Buaben would be keen to impress.
Stevanovic would be eager to have a look at his players ahead of next month’s African Cup of Nations Group I qualifier against Swaziland at home but a win would be a plus, especially coming against such a rival, Nigeria.