9 November 2017

Africa: Ghana up for Positive Closure

Ghana may already be out of the running for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, but the Black Stars are motivated to end the campaign positive as they host Egypt in the ultimate game at Cape Coast on Sunday.

The Black Stars are missing out on what would have been a fourth successive appearance at the Mundial, having been off the pace in Group E from the onset.

The Day Six clash is a repeat of their last meeting for a slot to the 2014 FIFA World Cup which took place in Brazil, when Kwesi Appiah coached the Black Stars to an emphatic 6-1 win in Kumasi to leave their campaign intact at home.

While the general feeling remains that there's nothing at stake for both teams with the Pharaohs having already claimed the group's solitary ticket to Russia with a game to spare, it would be a game of pride for both teams.

Motivated by the growing rivalry between the two teams, Kwasi Appiah faces a tough task to back his assertions that there's still a lot at stake in this duel.

While Egypt has travelled to Cape Coast without star-man Mohamed Salah and others such as defenders Ahmed Hegazy and Mohamed Abdelshafy who were influential to the Pharaohs qualification for their first ever World Cup since 1990, Appiah has paraded what is regarded a complete squad for this closing fixture, perhaps to back his assertion that the match still matters.

Appiah has called up new boy Nasiru Mohammed of Swedish side, BK Hacken with a return to the side for Spain-based Mubarak Wakaso and Bologna midfielder Godfred Donsah in what appears to be a blend of youth and experience to push his mission despite leaving out regular centre-backs, Jonathan Mensah and John Boye.

With Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey suspended for the Egypt tie, the Ghanaians still seem a solid side on paper to sellout a good duel against the visitors.

The Pharaohs beat the Stars 2-0 in the reverse last November in Alexandria thanks to goals by Salah and Abdallah Said.

Elsewhere in Brazzaville, Congo host Uganda in the other Group E clash also on Sunday.

Fixtures

Group A

11.11.2017 Tunis Tunisia vs Libya

11.11.2017 Kinshasa DR Congo vs Guinea

Group B

10.11.2017 Constantine Algeria vs Nigeria

11.11.2017 Ndola Zambia vs Cameroon

Group C

11.11.2017 Franceville Gabon vs Mali

11.11.2017 Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire vs Morocco

Group D

10.11.2017 Polokwane South Africa vs Senegal

14.11.2017 Dakar Senegal vs South Africa

14.11.2017 Ouagadougou Burkina Faso vs Cape Verde

Group E

12.11.2017 Cape Coast Ghana vs Egypt

12.11.2017 Brazzaville Congo vs Uganda

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