27 June 2013

Zambia/Ghana: Ghana Change Date for Chipolopolo Fixture

Zambia's opponents in the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Ghana has switched the dates for the crucial encounter against the Chipolopolo from September 8 to Friday 6 Kumasi's Baba Yara Stadium.

This, according to Ghana Football Federation sources, is due to an international friendly the Black Stars will play against Japan on September 10. The body wants to avoid the risk of playing two high profile fixtures in a space of 48 hours.

FIFA allows hosting countries to play their fixtures on three dates of a designated weekend provided they inform their visitors as well as the match organisers for referee logistics. In this case, the Black Stars will not require special permission to switch dates.

Meanwhile, three top players that have missed out on Ghana's campaign so far including the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, as well as Kevin Prince Boateng may return to face Zambia in Kumasi.

But the BBC reports that their coach is warning that the stars will have to play by his rules to enhance team spirit.

Andre and Jordan quit in February when both players were dropped from Ghana's Nations Cup squad but announced their return to international football recently after a meeting with Ghana President John Mahama.

Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantekyie says Boateng has indicated he will be available for Ghana now after two years of retirement.

Appiah revealed he is happy in principle that the players are making themselves available but he is been keen to point out that they will receive no special treatment when they return.

"It is about Ghana at any given time so if a player is available and it will help, why not? It's important that we don't close our doors to any Ghanaian player and widen our scope", Appiah said.

The general belief is that after the involvement of President Mahama in the return of the Ayews, Appiah will feel an element of pressure and include them in his squad - but he disputes that.

He said: "I don't believe in pressure. The president never said they should come back and be in the first team. The president said they should make themselves available and for me that is a good thing because it is important that players are available for the nation at any given time.

Ghana lead the pack with 12 points while Zambia is second on 11 points with one match to conclude the second round of qualifiers The winner of the group will progress to the knockout stage of 10 which will produce the five teams that will eventually represent the continent at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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