Sports Features of Mon, 24 Jul 20174
Tough task awaits Black Stars in 2018 World Cup qualifiers
Ghana have qualified for the past three World Cups and reached the quarter-finals back in 2010 when the tournament was held in South Africa, but they are struggling to make the 2018 World Cup after an indifferent start to their qualification campaign.
With only the top team in each group set to make it to Russia, the Black Stars sit third in Group E, with just one point to their name from two games.
They opened with a goalless draw against Uganda and then lost 1-0 to Egypt and are still looking for their first goal in qualifying.
The Egyptians top the group with maximum points and Uganda are second on four and so there is much work for coach Akwasi Appiah and his men to do.
With just four games to go, it is highly likely that Ghana will have to win at least three of those to qualify, and they next face basement nation Congo at the Baba Yara Stadium on September 1.
The reverse fixture in Brazzaville follows four days later and it would be no exaggeration to say that Ghana need to be on seven points after that match to stand any chance of catching Egypt, who face a double-header with Uganda.
Appiah will be looking for a bit of help from those two countries and a couple of draws would go down nicely.
This year’s Africa Cup of Nations may have given Ghana a lift as they reached the semi-finals before losing out to Burkina Faso in the third place play-off.
Goals were, once again, hard to come by as they beat Uganda and Mali 1-0 before losing to Egypt by the same score.
Therefore Appiah’s men are well acquainted with those two sides and will hope to use any knowledge gained from the games in the remaining qualifiers.
Captain Asamoah Gyan remains a key player, having bagged 51 goals from 105 appearances, and he has scored three goals for his country this year, while West Ham’s Andre Ayew also brings plenty of experience to the party.
The four-time Africa Cup of Nations champions played three friendlies this summer and it has to be said there was not much to get excited about.
Mohammed Awal scored in a 1-1 draw with Benin before they fell 1-0 to Mexico in Houston, Texas.
East Hartford in Connecticut was the venue for their final game against the USA, with Gyan netting in a 2-1 loss to the hosts.
They did manage to thrash Ethiopia 5-0 in a 2019 AFCON qualifier on June 10 but all eyes will now be on the two matches against Congo.
World Cup qualification will conclude with a trip to Uganda on October 8 before the visit of Hector Cuper’s Egypt side on November 6.
Fans of the Black Stars will be hoping there is still something riding on that game and, even at this stage, it would appear to be a must-win encounter.
If things go badly then supporters can always immerse themselves in Football Star Slots from Playcosmo.com to take their mind of the result.
It is going to be tricky for Ghana to qualify for the World Cup as they have left themselves with the proverbial mountain to climb but, if the strikers can locate their scoring boots, then anything is possible.
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