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27.03.2009 Football News

Stars keyed up!… To maul Squirrels on Sunday

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

Unless the Black Stars underrate their Beninois counterparts in their World/Africa Cup qualifier, the Stars appear too tall a mountain for the visitors to climb over this Sunday at the Baba Yara Stadium.

The team left Accra yesterday, leaving convincing impressions on the minds of fans who watched them in their 4-1 thrashing of Division One side Great Mariners.

They seem keyed up to replicate the same performance when called to duty at 5pm in the Garden City, Kumasi. Besides the $8,000 financial incentive dangling before Coach Milovan and his charges, their quest to make a successive World Cup appearance has thrown the entire team into a positive stance.

Surely, the Burundi experience which cost Ghana the France 98 World Cup participation and other instances have not gone down well with Ghanaians and the Stars this time appear resolute to begin on a good and convincing note to avoid any mathematical 'calculation' as to who qualifies at the latter stage of the qualifications.

Michael Essien's return seems to have worked magic for the team that is blessed with experienced foreign-based players as well as young and hungry-for-success charges.

A Prince Tagoe and Asamoah Gyan pairing upfront is a likely probability, and they would depend on the services of Inter Milan's Suley Muntari, Essien, skipper Stephen Appiah, Rahim Ayew and Anthony Anan in the heart of the game.

Should Wigan's Richard Kingson fail to answer to the roll call following injury, Egypt-based goalkeeper George Owu will be the probable choice to keep the post.

Doubtlessly, the Squirrels enter the game with that infamous 2-4 defeat they suffered in the Zenith four-nation final at the Ohene Djan Stadium prior to the CAN 2008 competition.

News emanating from the visitors camp suggest that they are in town to cause an upset despite playing away and considered as underdogs.

Ghana reached this far of the competition after handing Libya a 3-0 thrashing on home soil, traveled to South Africa to defeat Lesotho 3-2, lost 0-2 to Gabon in Libreville, and won 2-0 against Gabon in Accra (under coach Sellas Tetteh). Coach Milo took the baton and lost 0-1 to Libya, but quickly recovered to crown it all with a 3-0 win over Lesotho at Essipong, to qualify at the expense of Libya, to the final phase of the competition.