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Opinions of Thursday, 6 October 2005

Columnist: agolu16@hotmail.com

Is Ghana's Qualification for Germany 2006 inenvitable

Let me first congratulate our soccer national team for making dream for world cup qualification to be staged in Germany brighter than ever before. I am congratulating the Black Star of Ghana in advance because It will take a miracle to deny the Black Stars of Ghana their well deserved qualification to Germany 2006. With a match left, Ghana is three point ahead of Congo and South Africa and the team we had to defeat in other to qualify is not strong a contender in African soccer circles.

Mathematically we are not yet qualified, but I think that technically Ghana has made to Germany 2006. Even if Ghana loses the last match against Cape Verde, the chances of either South Africa or Congo ousting Ghana from its present firt position is near impossible. Infact it is as impossible as getting the camel through the eye of the needle. First lets take our opponents one after the other begining with South Africa.

If South Africa wins her last match against Doctor Congo (DR), they will need Ghana to lose her last match to level up with their points. But Fifa rules states that if two teams have the same points, head to head matches between the two tieing teams will be considered. Ghana is far ahead of South Africa in terms of our head to head matches. We defeated the south Africans 3-0 in Kumasi. As if that was not enough we defeated them again 2-0 in thier back yard. So on the paramount consideration of Fifa when two teams have a tie the Republic of South Africa is out. Even if Ghana lost her last match. The second FIFA consideration goal differences. Our head to head goal difference with South Africa is 5-0 in our favour. Ghana also bang in as much as 13 goals and only 4 goals were scored against us. South Africa scored 10 goals and 12 goals were scored against them. This means that Ghana has a goal difference of +9 whiles South Africa's goal difference is -2. Given these evidence South Africa is out as a serious contender in next years world cup final in Germany.

Let's me turn my attention to the most serious contender in our group. Doctor Congo as the medical students would want us called them or Democratic Republic of Congo as the political scientist know them, are second in our group. They were second by virtue of the fact that South Africa had lost their match against our nex door neighbours-Burkina faso and they won their match against cape verde Island. Congo, more than south Africa would want to see Ghana lose in thier last match against cape verde island. However, what are DRC's chances of making it to Germany even if Ghana loses her last match. Like those of south Africa, their chances are also slim. They had to defeat South Africa at home to bring the group to a tie. The head to head record between Ghana and DRC is interesting.

Ghana and DRC draw 1-1 in Congo, and again drew 0-0 in Ghana. The two teams have equal amount of strength head to head. Therefore should Ghana lose her last much Fifa has to invoke her rules on tie break in such situation. The rules stipulate that in the case of a tiebreack, the team with the greate of points in matches involving tieing teams wins. God forbid but in such a situation both have equal amount of points in their matches. The second rule considers the goal differences scored between the two teams. Here again the goals difference are equal for both teams. The number of goals scored in matches between Ghana and DRC is also equal.

(0-0 in Ghana and 1-1 in Congo). Ghana has significant amount of total group goal difference than Congo. Ghana has +9 goals, and Congo has +4. In order qualify Congo needs to beat South by more than 4 whiles hoping that Ghana will lose by at least a goal. It will be very diffcult for this to happen. First the Congolese are playing against a stronger team. Also they are playing South Africa, who they narrowly beat 1-0 at home, in South Africa. Their chances of scoring two goals more than Ghana to clinch the leader is very slim. On the other hand Ghana is playing against Cape Verde Island. Our qualifying records show that Ghana does very well in away matches. The only match Ghana lost away from home was against Burkina-faso. Ghana drew twice away and defeated South Africa. The current Black Stars have amply demostrated its ability to deliver when it matters most. Our two matches against South Africa and the recent past match against Uganda is a clear example.

I am not in anyway under rating Cape Verde Island but the Ghanaian national team is far ahead when it comes to player to player strength. In Football anything is possible, but it will take a miracle for DRC to qualify over Ghana. The required margin of goals they need to score to order to upset the overwhelming goal superiority of Black Stars is very challenging if not impossible. Therefore I will conclude that although DRC has a statistical chance, it will be practically impossible for them qualify over Ghana.



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