Ghana Poised For Cairo War …To Beat Egypt In Cairo

KwdwToday is the day the nation has anxiously been waiting for. It is a moment Ghanaians would know whether the Black Stars have their feet firmly rooted in the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

With a monstrous 6-1 win over the Pharaohs of Egypt in the first leg play-off in Kumasi, many believe the Stars have already plucked one of the continent’s five tickets for the appetising Brazil tournament.

For them, it would take the gods of football a phenomenal show of brute force to unseat Ghana – in order to push Egypt through.

Indeed, Egypt needs no less than FIVE unanswered goals without reply to be able to scale through – but per the present performance of the Stars, that task would only remain one big lousy dream – irrespective of the venue.

For some time now, venue for today’s game – the Military Air Defence Stadium in Cairo, has been a huge bother with the Ghanaian authorities earlier petitioning FIFA about the security situation in Egypt.

However, after reviewing the plan and detailed security arrangements for the match in a meeting with their Egyptian counterparts, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) seems satisfied with the measures in place for the security of the players, officials and its supporters.

The meeting, presided over by FIFA Security Office Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba, saw officials of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, the Egyptian Military, Ghana’s ambassador to Egypt H.E. Said Sinare, GFA delegation led by President Kwesi Nyantakyi, Ghana’s security delegation and the Egypt FA, in firm agreement over pertinent issues.

Whilst the Egyptians have been nursing their own lofty dreams of riding on the back of the Stars to Brazil, the Ghanaians are also approaching the game with all the seriousness associated with a Cup finale.

It is, indeed, heart-warming to know that the Asamoah Gyan-led team is not even thinking about the whopping first leg win, but zooming into the afternoon from a position of under-dogs.

Similar position was held by head coach of Ghana Kwesi Appiah.

“We will go into the game as though we lost the first leg in Kumasi and needed to win at all cost in Cairo to qualify.

“There would be nothing like complacency at all because all the boys are determined to go to Brazil,” insists Appiah.

Appiah would become the first Ghanaian to guide the Stars to a senior World Cup, and he seems excitedly anxious to carve that piece of history.

Heartily, the former first-class national defender has in hand an embarrassing array of stars to achieve that feat, making selection for the final 11 a real headache.

But Appiah will still tie his hopes to the majority of the boys who demolished Egypt in Kumasi, while giving Kevin-Prince Boateng a starting chance. Boateng missed the first leg due to injury, though a section of the fans thought he ‘cleverly’ dodged that tie – and labelled him unpatriotic.

The on-form Schalke FC midfield star may have proved the doubting fans wrong by his appearance in a country perceived as ‘politically volatile.’ Perhaps, a mega performance on the day from Boateng could put at rest whatever impressions Ghanaians may have harboured about him.

Ahead of today’s nail-biter, the Pharaohs beat Zambia 2-1 in a trial game at home, but they still did not look like a side ready to swallow up Ghana’s third straight flight to the World Cup.

Doubtless, the Pharaohs – powered by their poster-boy Mohammed Aboutreika would predictably pounce on the Stars right from the get-go, hungrily seeking an early goal for a booster.

The players have been promised a $1million each if they are able to eliminate Ghana – and that is good an extrinsic motivation. However, for a Ghana team that is also bolstered instrinsically to make it to the ‘Samba land,’ nothing seems to serve as a bulwark for them.

All the same, Ghana would have to play it tight at the back – making sure absolutely nothing is left to chance. The players themselves reckon they have not qualified yet, and that puts them psychologically poised for a real battle in Cairo.

For sure, Egypt cannot serve as the banana peel to the Ghana’s mission in Brazil. By John Vigah

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