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22.10.2008 Football News

Ahead Of World Cup qualifiers - Injuries Take Toll On Stars

Ahead Of World Cup qualifiers - Injuries Take Toll On Stars

Black Stars coach, Milovan Rajevac, must surely be a worried man, considering the rate at which some key players he hopes to rely on in the World Cup final round are being knocked down by injuries in recent outings.

Before Rajevac could settle in the Stars' hot seat, he was hit in the face with a bad blow after the team's midfield engine, Michael Essien, sustained an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in a crucial qualifier against Libya in Tripoli on September 5.

For now, indications are that Rajevac might miss Essien's services in some of the 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup qualifiers, after the Chelsea player was ruled out for months by doctors, following a knee surgery in France.

And just days to tomorrow's final round draw in Zurich, Rajevac's plight seems to have worsened after dependable defender, John Mensah, rejoined the long injury list.

Mensah, who missed the Ghana-Libya match through a calf injury, tore a groin muscle late in Olympique Lyon's 2-2 drawn game with Lille Metropole last Saturday.

While the Stars coach anxiously awaits the result of a scan on Mensah's injury in the coming days, he will also anticipate the speedy recovery of Heracles Almelo midfielder, Kwame Quansah, who was stretchered off after just 26 minutes in his debut for the Stars against South Africa's Bafana Bafana in Bloemfontein last Wednesday.

Though Quansah could not last long enough to convince Rajevac that he deserved a place in his team, he still showed some signs of brilliance which might compel the Serbian to give him another chance upon recovery.

While revelling in the timely return of skipper Stephen Appiah, other first choice players such as the leading striker, Asamoah Gyan, Hans Adu Sarpei and Shilla Illiasu Alhassan have also been battling with injury for sometime now.

Gyan, who managed to recover in time for the Stars' CAN 2008 campaign at home, suffered another injury during the tournament which sidelined him from all Ghana outings since then.

After playing a few games for his new club, Stade Rennes, on his return to the pitch, unfortunately had his thigh muscle torn by Gyan during a Ligue 1 match against Lille on August 23.

Interestingly, Illiasu is still battling with the ankle injury which he sustained long before CAN 2008. That same injury stirred controversy during and after the tournament, resulting in some changes in the Stars technical team.

As Rajevac anticipates a tough draw from a team each from among Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, Algeria (pot 2), Zambia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya and Benin (pot 3) and Rwanda, Togo, Mozambique, Sudan and Malawi (pot 4), he will surely need a full strength team to guarantee Ghana a second World Cup qualification.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo

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