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25.11.2008 Football News

It'll Be Fierce As Usual

It'll Be Fierce As Usual

Nearly one year after posting one of the most thrilling acts in African soccer history, Ghana and Nigeria are on edge to rekindle the rivalry that produced all the drama of their famous clash in the last CAN hosted by Ghana.

The Nigerians storm the nation's capital this weekend with a simple mission to exact revenge for the painful defeat they suffered at the hands of the Stars in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Nations Cup at the Ohene Djan Stadium.

In that thrilling game in which the two sides unleashed on the stage some of the best performers in contemporary times, it was the stars with the cutting edge of Michael Essien, Haminu Draman and Junior Agogo who stole the winner as the game was heading into extra time.

For the Nigerians who went into that match with history on their side as they had won almost all the confrontations prior to that battle, the defeat was an anti-climax and Sunday's battle presents a unique opportunity to revive their dominance over Ghana.

Indeed the last time that the Nigerians played at the Ohene Djan Stadium, it was their Olympic team that scuttled the Olympic dreams of Ghana when they held a star-studded Black Meteors to a goalless draw before a packed crowd.

Sunday's clash though might lack all the trappings of a competitive combat between the two sub-regional giants, the stakes appear too high as it will define the path for appearance in the first African Nations Championship slated for January next year in the Ivorian capital of Cote d'Ivoire.

The clash will though lack the depth of talents like Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah and Laryea Kingston, Yakubu Ayigbeni, Peter Odemingwe, Obafemi Martins John Mickel Obi and Austin Ejide, the stage will provide an exciting opportunity for some budding talents waiting to break into Europeann teams.

Since the inception of the qualifiers for this novelty tournament, Nigeria has pervaded the scene with their fervour and performance and are easily one of the strongest contenders so far and their appearance in Accra presents Ghana with the most difficult hurdle to surmount.

Unlike the Nigerians, Ghana has been fortunate with the initial draws. They first played a hapless Nigerien side, and had another easy ride over Togo. The Ghanaian side has since lost some key actors like John Boye, Osei Banahene and Domnic Adiyha who have all been traded off.

But Coach Milovan Rajevac still has at his disposal a large pool of local talent to inspire his side to victory.

Fortunately, Eric Bekoe has returned, from trials in Denmark and also can count on goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, Samuel Ayew Yeboah, Kwame Antwi, Dan Yeboah, Kojo Poku and Jordan Opoku.

The team began camping last week and broke before the weekend to enable players to feature in the Premier League which kicked off at the weekend.

Story by Andy Quao

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