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08.10.2004 Football News

Crucial Affair -Do Or Die For Stars, Coach Arday

By K. Asare Boadu, K’si

The situation is simple.The Black Stars cannot afford a timid surrender of the top of the Africa Group Two of the World Cup qualifiers to the Simbas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Tied at seven points and separated by just a goal, Ghana on top of the group have to keep their World Cup dream on course with a good win in Kumasi on Sunday.

The arrival of the foreign legion in camp minus Addoquaye Pappoe, who is reportedly facing flight problems, has boosted confidence in camp and capitulation to DRC is absolutely out of question.

An anatomy of the team quickly reveals the players are aware of the task ahead and are determined to thread the path of progress.Training yesterday morning at the Kumasi stadium was heavily patronised by fans, and as the players responded positively to the training regimen they seemed to have forgotten about the departure of Mariano Barreto and were poised to take the Simbas to the slaughter house.

Sam Arday, already tagged stopgap coach, wants to prove a point to Ghanaians who expect nothing but a dazzling performance from the Stars as they take another giant stride towards Germany 2006.The soft-spoken coach has decided to talk very less about the match, but he believes he has the clout to mould the strategy to outdo the DRC.

The progress of the Black Stars so far has come largely at the back of sheer will and abundant talent, coupled with support at home.

But make no mistake, the Simbas have prepared very well for this encounter, having pitched base in France to mould the strategy for the kill. They believe strongly that a win over Ghana will give them the leverage to catapult them to the top where there will be no turning back.

Their French manager, Claude Leroy has assembled a crack side for the duel.

A coach who is unperturbed by losing a fighter like Lomana Tresor Lua Lua in such a tricky encounter knows what he is about.The DRC coach has introduced new talent, mostly from two home giants, Vita and Darling Club Motema Pembe into his side but would still rely heavily on Monaco's gusty Shabani Nonda for the onslaught.

With the absence of Lua Lua, Leroy would partner Shabani Nonda and Darling Club Motema Pembe's Mbutu Mbula upfront while England -based Gulain Ndumbu plays behind them.

The Simbas do not possess the flair associated with the Ghanaians but they make up with their athleticism and power backed by fast breaks.It would therefore demand a lot of fight from the Ghanaian attack to break through a defence composed of St Etiene's Harita Bunga, Papy Kimoto who plays for St Truiden in Belgium and Kaiserslauten's Nzelo Lumbi.

Surely, the return of Sule Muntari to the squad is welcome news, and the partnership with Stephen Appiah will be terrific on the left side.In that dazzling performance against South Africa, which the Black Stars won 3-0 in Kumasi, Ghana made good use of the flanks and coach Arday will be counted on to plan a strategy that could push the team to attack relentlessly on the flanks.

Despite the goal drought that has hit Ibrahim Tanko in the national side, the Frieburg player will definitely remains a key figure in attacking plans of Sam Arday.

From all indications, a huge home crowd will fill the Stadium to give the players the much-needed support.

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