GHANA, THE last of Africa's 'FIFA World Cup five' to enter the CAN 2006 fray, has a task of Herculean proportions to undertake, today, writes Isaac Franklin. Ghana's Black Stars clash with their age-old rivals, Super Eagles of Nigeria, in Port Said.
Super Eagles, who are still smarting from missing out on FIFA World Cup qualification, are keenly determined to make amends.
Ahead of today's battle, Austin Eguaevon, the head coach of Super Eagles is beaming with confidence that his side would clinch victory, come what may. Having in mind the grits of the Nigerians, the Stars' head coach, Ratomir Dujkovic has offered a cautious assessment of the Group D match, and his team's chances.
Although Dujkovic concedes that, the Super Eagles are a strong side, he is convinced his side can spring surprises, courtesy the commitment of the Stars. Inspirational skipper of the Stars, Stephen Appiah has re-joined the Ghanaian side, after enplaning for Turkey to feature for his club, Fernabache, which needed his services, badly.
Appiah is poised to lead his side to record a sweet win over the Nigerian counterparts.
Interestingly, both coaches doubt the fitness of their key players, before the Stars/Eagles cracker.
Coach Dujkovic is not sure whether experienced defender, Samuel Osei-Kuffour would be fully fit, after the player complained about shoulder injury. On the other hand, the Super Eagles coach has also hinted that, the skipper of his side, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, may not feature in today's encounter, owing to an injury.
But, those uncertainties, notwithstanding, matches involving Nigerians and Ghanaians are dicey, and the two experienced players' absence may perhaps not make any differences.
Already, a number of Ghanaians have expressed dissatisfaction over the Stars' abysmal performances during the friendly battles.
However, a fuller analysis of what the Stars are able to offer in Germany must wait until the tournament gets into full swing.
Ghana's Black Stars would give a better indication, after going through the rigours of what should be an absorbing and entertaining event, in Egypt.