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18.11.2008 Football News

Appiah & Co Set To Rumble

Appiah & Co Set To Rumble

As Ghana's Black Stars seek to track down the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia with their new-found shine under Milovan Rajevac in 'The Thriller in Accra' tomorrow, the multi-dimensional nature of the clash will transcend a mere international friendly.

Beyond the scoreline which both Rajevac and Humberto Coelho will be much interested in to put them on a sound footing ahead of the final round World Cup/Africa Cup qualifiers, the biggest news for the local fans will be the sweet homecoming of 'homeboy' Stephen Appiah who plays in front of Accra fans for the first time in one year following a protracted injury.

The first and last time Appiah played at the refurbished Accra Stadium was during a pre-CAN 2008 four-nation tournament in November 2007.

The emotional return of the Stars skipper could also represent a ground-breaking moment in the second half of his career as officials of English clubs, West Ham, Newcastle and Middlesbrough, follow him to Accra in a frantic bid to outdo one another for the player's signature.

Like Appiah, the big game will also offer fans in the capital first-hand information on the new Stars coach who made a grand home debut against Lesotho in Sekondi last month.

The presence of comeback kids like Matthew Amoah, Andre Dede Ayew, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and Hans Adu Sarpei on the one side, and debutants, Samuel Kyere (Arab Contractors), Jonathan Mensah (Free State Stars) and Samuel Yeboah (Hapoel Tel Aviv) on the other in the Ghanaian set-up will be equally enthralling.

Though Milo will regrettably miss the services of his deputy skipper, John Mensah, and influential midfielders, Sulley Muntari and Laryea Kingston due to injury, he will not be alone in that palaver as his Portuguese counterpart, Coelho, also arrives in town today without Germany-based duo of Karim Haggui and Mohamed Chermiti, as well as veteran defender Radhi Jaidi.

Aside from that, the Carthage Eagles will still hope to fly in the night skies of Accra in the absence of some Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien players who have been left out due to their CAF Confederation Cup second leg final on Saturday.

That notwithstanding, Coelho's 22-man squad, dominated by foreign-based players, could still be deadly with the experienced France-based striking duo of Issam Jomaa and Silva Dos Santos as their anchor.

The last time Ghana played Tunisia in a similar friendly prior to CAN 2006 in Egypt under former Serbian trainer, Ratomir Dujkovic, the north Africans ran away with a narrow 1-0 victory.

Tomorrow's duel, which kicks off at 17 hours GMT (5 p.m.) under the supervision of Togolese officials, promises to be a sellout as advance tickets are already on sale at the Ohene Djan Stadium.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo