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Sports News of Saturday, 26 March 2011


Banana peel tie for Ghana in Congo

Group I is proving to be a three-horse race involving Sudan, Ghana and Congo with the Ghana Black Stars set for a banana peel fixture in Congo this weekend.

Ghana, 2010 World Cup quarterfinalists, lead the group on four points, same as Sudan with Congo a point behind.

Second-placed Sudan are expected to beat visiting Swaziland in Omdurman and could shoot to the top of the table should Congo and Ghana cancel themselves out in the other game in this group.

Congo fought back from a 2-0 reverse in Sudan to beat Swaziland 3-1, while Ghana were held to a scoreless draw in Kumasi by plucky Sudan after they demolished Swaziland 3-0 away from home.

Germany-based striker Francky Sembolo grabbed a brace for Congo in their home win over the Swazis.

Former Ghana skipper Stephen Appiah has warned that the relatively unknown Congolese will not be pushovers especially at their backyard.

“They should play team work and not individual play. They should not be selfish because they need to get the three points which is the most important thing. The result will be positive if they do all these,” cautioned Appiah.

Ghana trained in Nairobi, Kenya, for this match, but their build-up has been anything but plain sailing.

Chelsea star Michael Essien still won’t pitch with the Black Stars after asking for a break away from international football.

Sunderland midfielder Sulley Muntari is a major doubt for Sunday’s game as a result of injury, while the Ghana Football Association (GFA) have opened an investigation over claims by AC Milan ace Kevin Prince-Boateng that he is injured.

Star striker Asamoah Gyan has been suspended for this encounter and so a lot of responsibility in front of goal will now fall on on-form striker Prince Tagoe.

Tagoe has netted six goals in as many matches for Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade on loan from German club Hoffenheim.

“We know how crucial this game is for all of us. What is important is we beat Congo to enhance our chances and it doesn’t matter who scores the goals for that to happen,” said Tagoe.

New Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic, who will be making his competitive debut in Brazzaville, has been most impressed with Tagoe, who was played as a midfielder at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Goal scoring has remained the bane of the “African Brazilians”.

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