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30.10.2008 Football News

JAK backs Paraguay friendly

					JAK backs Paraguay friendly

JAK is keen on a game for the Stars The president of Ghana, John Agyekum Kuffuor (JAK), is said to have given his backing to the Black Stars proposed friendly against Paraguay next month in a bid to boost unity in the country ahead of general elections in December. 


The game which is being mooted by the Sports Ministry in conjunction with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has tentatively been scheduled for Accra on 19 November.


Even though the game will serve as the Black Stars preparation for the start of the second phase of the World Cup qualifiers next year, it would be used to promote unity to quell the tension that has characterised the election campaigns by supporters of the political parties.


Ghanaians showed unprecedented unity during the Black Stars' participation in the 2006 World Cup and the game against the South Americans could renew that sense of national harmony, helping to repress any likelihood of post-election upheaval.


"The top man is very happy about the Paraguay game because of what it can do to the peace in the country ahead of the general elections," a sports ministry source told


President Kuffuor, who is an ardent fan of the Black Stars, is keen on fostering unity in the country as the game would be his last before he quits his post at the end of his term in January.


He recently showed his passion for the team when  he visited injured midfielder Michael Essien in his home in London.


The GFA is also keen to prove to Fifa that the country can host the hitch-free World Cup qualifiers in the wake of the crowd trouble at the Sekondi Stadium when the Black Stars played Lesotho.


The Black Stars had lined up a game against Oman on 19 November, a Fifa international friendly date but it was brushed aside because of the form of the Asian side.

Oman was deemed as not capable of providing the stern test needed for Ghana ahead of the start of the second phase of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers in a group that involves Mali, Benin and Sudan.

Paraguay are ahead of Ghana in the World ranking as they are placed 22nd while the Black Stars are three rungs below the South Americans.

Oman, ranked 94th in the Fifa rankings, are in a poor shape and they dismally failed to make any progress in the Asian World Cup qualifiers.

Mali, Ghana's opponents in Group Four of the qualifiers, dropped their arranged friendly against Egypt last week in a favour of a West African opponent to help them prepare adequately to play Ghana and Benin in the group.

Paraguay FA officials have now handed their Ghana counterparts the needed boost as the South Americans have expressed interest in travelling to Accra for the international friendly insisting they also want tough opponents ahead of the resumption of their qualifiers.  

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