Sports News of Saturday, 23 March 2019
The Black Stars of Ghana are back to the Accra Sports Stadium for the first time after five years on Saturday, March 23 to play the Harambee Stars of Kenya in the last 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier for Egypt.
With both teams having qualified already for Egypt, there is nothing more to play for, except for the pride and place for the top spot at stake.
The reverse fixture of the game ended 1-0 in favour of the Harambee Stars in Nairobi September, last year and the Black Stars are poised for revenge.
The Harambee Stars would play in the AFCON for the first time since 2004 having impressed in their qualifying rounds so far.
The East Africans currently sits top of Group F, with just a point ahead of their Saturday opponents who have six points.
Ethiopia is the remaining side in the group with Sierra Leone being disqualified from the qualifiers by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) following government interference in the running of the Sierra Leonean Football Association.
The composition of head coach, Kwesi Appian’s call-up largely supports the idea he enters the game with.
He has called up at least five debutants, three local players all from Kotoko who participated in the 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup and six returnees.
The likes of Deputy skipper Dede Ayew, Kwadjo Asamoah, John Boye and Kwasi Appiah are among the notable names, who have been recalled back into the team.
It is quite evident from the list that, coach Kwesi Appiah is looking ahead into the future, as he tries to shape up his squad for the competition proper in June.
Meanwhile, head coach of Kenya Sébastien Migne also named a 24-man squad for the game against the Black Stars. His team also features two debutants, David Sessay and Christopher Mbamba, who ply their trade in England and Sweden respectively.
Local stars Duke Abuya of Kariobangi Sharks and Faruk Shikalo of Bandari, have also been favoured for a call-up.
Coincidentally, the Black Stars’ heaviest victory in football history was against Kenya in 1965, when the Black Stars pummelled the Harambee Stars 13-2 in an international friendly in Mombasa.
Until last year’s defeat over the Black Stars, Kenya’s only win had come in 2003 in an international friendly played in Accra and this clearly sets the tone for a battle for pride.
Two other games between the two sides have ended in a draw and four wins for Ghana.
Ghana would want to be seeded for the tournament draw and coupled with revenge on the mind, the team would love to win and win convincingly especially playing in front of ever critical fans of Accra.