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Sports News of Sunday, 31 May 2009

Source: GNA

Tumultuous welcome for Black Stars to Tamale

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Tamale, May 31, GNA - The People of Tamale Metropolis on Saturday came out in their numbers to welcome the senior national team, the Black Stars to the Tamale, ahead of their international friendly against the Uganda national side in the city on Sunday.

Supporters from the Upper East and Upper West regions also thronged the metropolis to cheer the Stars.

The football enthusiasts expected the Black Stars to win the friendly and subsequently snatch the maximum three points from Mali in their quest to qualify for Angola/South Africa 2010. The GNA observed that the Tamale Sports Stadium was half full of soccer fans who went there to watch the training sessions of the Black Stars and the Ugandans on Saturday evening.

Security personnel had it tough controlling the crowd that wanted to catch glimpses of the Ghanaian players.

They were however, disappointed by the absence of key Stars players like Junior Agogo, Sule Muntari, John Mensah and Michael Essien but they stood in the stands and called cat names especially goalkeeper Kinston who was called "Kalipo".

Some of the fans waited patiently by the Stars' bus and heaped praises on the players on their way to board the vehicle to the GETFund hostel in Tamale while others thronged the pitch to take pictures with their favourite stars.

After the training session, Mr. Bobby Williamson, head coach of Uganda, told the GNA that he expected his side to play well so that other nations involved in the qualifier for Angola/South Africa 2010 to invite them for similar friendly.

The head coach said he respected Ghana football and that he was very happy that his team would be playing the friendly. Mr. Williamson said "The people of Tamale are very friendly and I am impressed by the way the cheer us during our training and we would give them quality soccer on Sunday."

He was however, not happy because of the absence of key players from Ghana's squad and advised Ghana's technical team to tackle Mali with all the seriousness.

Mr. Williamson said it might cost the Stars without most of their key players but expressed optimism that Ghana would humble Mali. Some of the Black Stars players told the GNA after their training that they were determined to qualify for the World Cup and called on all Ghanaians to pray for them and rally behind the team ahead of the match against Mali.

Jonathan Quartey said that Ghana had the advantage of winning since they would be playing away and that they would do everything within their capacity to win the match adding "Even if we fail to win and draw, we come back to the drawing board and win the returning match at home with a wider margin."

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