(Cecil Adom, GNA Special correspondent Ouagadougou)
Ouagadougou, June 5, GNA- A contingent of 37 officials and players of the senior national team, the Black Stars, arrived in hot humid Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso to play their Burkinabe counterparts in the opening qualifying series for the 2006 World Cup.
The confident Ghanaian contingent, led by Mr Joe Aggrey, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports were given a rousing welcome at the airport amid drumming and dancing by Ghanaians resident in Burkina Faso.
The supporters clad in the national colours could not contain their joy at the sight of the Ghanaian players and carried skipper Stephen Appiah shoulder high after they had gone through immigration formalities.
The contingent was led to a vehicle provided by the Burkina Faso Football Federation. Even though, the Ghanaians did not raise hell about the poor conditions of the bus, most of the players GNA talked to were unperturbed saying, "they came to play soccer and not to think about conditions of the bus"
Confident coach Mariano Barreto said he was very optimistic of "starting on a winning note as all signs point to that".
He said he is glad that all the payers who "took knocks during training have all passed late fitness" test for the match.
He singled out the recovery of midfield general Michael Essien of a French club, Lyon as a good sign for the Stars. The 21 players who made the trip are all confident of giving a good account of themselves.
The Burkinabes are also confident of victory as they said their team is well prepared to revenge the painful 2-1 defeat by the Stars during the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali.
Most of the staff at the airport waved three fingers at the Stars on arrival signifying a 3-0 win for the home side. The Black Stars prepared well for this qualifier match after a two-week training tour in France and an international friendly against Benin national side.
The Burkinabe rounded off their preparation with an international friendly a match against Libya, and won 3-2.
Some of the foreign-based Ghanaian players who made the trip are, Skipper Stephen Appiah, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Derick Boateng, Emmanuel Duah, Emmanuel Osei, John Mensah and Richard Kinston.
The local-based players include Sammy Adjei, Dan Quaye, Amankwah Mireku, Ablade Morgan, Daniel Coleman, Nana Arhin Duah, Charles Taylor, Abubakar Yahuza and Hamza Mohammed.
The officials are Dr Nyaho Tamakloe, GFA Chairman and Dr Kofi Amoah, a member of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) management board. 5 June 04