Preko Could No Make It Black Stars trainer Mariano Barreto hopes to break the South African jinx on Sunday in the African Zone, group two of the 2006 World Cup and revive the nation's hope of snatching the only slot in the group. Ghana's senior national team has never beaten the Bafana Bafana team since they (SA) were readmitted into international football a decade ago. The closest Ghana has come was at the under-23 level where the Meteors beat the Amaglug-glug in both legs in the Athens Olympic games qualifiers early this year. But Barreto told the GNA Sports in a telephone conversation on Thursday that the dream would be achieved on Sunday "even if it takes a half goal for it to be realized." The last time the two sides met at the Kumasi Sports Stadium was in the 2000 African Nations Cup where the South Africans won with a solitary goal. The coach's confidence steams from the fitness level of his two strikers - Ibrahim Tanko and Baffour Gyan- who missed the opening group match against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou due to injuries plus the arrival of former King Faisal arrowhead Kwadwo Poku now of Denmark and new found goal poacher Moses Sakyi from Bulgaria.
Also in camp is defender Kofi Amponsah of PAOK Salonica in Greece and Bismark Ekye of Fiorentina while speedster Yaw Preko's return to the Stars could not materialize because the notice given him was too short. Coach Barreto urged Ghanaians not to bother about the complaint of "luck of potent strikers syndrome" and said that once he was able to present a formidable squad on Sunday any body could score.
He told the GNA Sports that what was important was the commitment from the players and the ability to fight until the final whistle, "which is the only way that we can stay in contention."
The South Africans are expected to arrive in Kumasi on Sunday for the great game.