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20.11.2007 Sports News

Four-Nation tournament: History favours Ghana

By Graphic Sports
Four-Nation tournament: History favours Ghana


History favours Ghana's Black Stars in Wednesday's pre-Cup of Nations Zenith Bank four-nation tournament as they clash with Benin in the finals at the Ohene Djan Stadium.

The Squirrels chase their third win against the Stars in international meetings and their first at the Ohene Djan Stadium since losing 0-1 and 0-3 at the same venue on July 25, 1998 and January 26, 2003 respectively.

It would be their 18th meeting, of which the Black Stars have won 10, drawn five, lost two and have scored as many as 39 goals and conceded 11. But football lessons have shown that sometimes history, pedigree and names do not play football.

That is the challenge the Stars face before expectant home fans who are known for switching allegiance to visiting teams when the going gets tough. Just last Friday, the Black Meteors experienced a similar thing in their 0-0 drawn match against Nigeria in an Olympic qualifier.

Aware of what another disappointment could mean for Ghanaian soccer fans, and its subsequent implications, and also the belief that a win could be an indication of good omen for the Nations Cup, the Stars are more than ready for the kill.

However, the Stars must be made aware that optimism alone does not play football; and that the earlier they add more bite to their attack, the better it would be for the team. Last Sunday they had to toil fruitlessly in the first 45 minutes until substitute Baffour Gyan, who returned into the team after two years, opened the scores.

His inclusion could be timely and may help ease the pressure on Junior Agogo and Mathew Amoah and, to some extent, Asamoah Gyan who was left on the bench in last Sunday's game. That would be if his style of play falls within the coach's game plan against Benin.

Captain Stephen Appiah and defender John Mensah who showed little signs of rustiness after months of lay-off due to injuries would, however, need to step up their game in the final to give more support for workaholic Michael Essien and his midfield colleagues, Sulley Muntari and Laryea Kingson.

It is unknown, though, that Claude Le Roy would select goalkeeper Sammy Adjei over number one choice Richard Kingson. Sammy last kept the post in the Ghana-Austria international friendly.

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