Stars Ready To Beat Togo Today

Strs1NO BODY really predicted Group E of the Nations Cup qualifying campaign to be that taut-stiff – one that needed the final day of fierce hostilities to determine candidates for the 2015 Equatorial Guinea festival. Peculiarly, it is.

And, at the Tamale Sports Stadium this afternoon, Ghana’s Black Stars will lock horns with close neighbours Togo, seeking for just a solitary point from a potentially explosive game that would certainly see some ‘battered’ bodies littering the field.

The Stars lead Group E with eight points – two better than the Hawks of Togo who can only progress with a staggering win in Tamale. Indeed, anything aside victory, would see the end of the road for the Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor-led side.

It is the reason the Togolese will pour out today with all guns blazing for that singular feat.

Both Ghana and Togo experienced bad weekend of football losses, results that have shoved them into tenterhooks.

Whilst many would effortlessly consider the Stars 1-0 stumble in Uganda as respectable, Togo’s 1-4 defeat to Guinea in Lome, was simply mind-blowing and stupefying.

Nevertheless, Guinea’s astounding win blew open the group, but now they have to beat Uganda by more than 2-0 in their final match at home to book their ticket to the final. Both Uganda and Guinea now have seven points, but Uganda are ahead on the head-to-head rule after they beat the Syli Stars 2-0 in Kampala in September.

Perhaps, that is not the concern of many Ghanaians. Whatever happens in the Uganda-Guinea game is not really important to the football-mad fans here whose mind at the moment is ‘super-glued’ on the Tamale fire-storm.

But Ghanaians will expect a much more fiery performance from the Stars this afternoon, hoping that the loopholes in the creaking backline would be plugged and corked well. The Ghana central pair of erratic John Boye and the gradually-declining Jonathan Mensah added to the team’s woes in Uganda and must be told to up their game today.

On a day that the Stars looked weak-willed and gutless irrespective of their dominance, superb midfielders like Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Rabiu Mohammed failed to glitter, whilst Christian Atsu was all-too individualistic.

All these idiosyncrasies cannot be tolerated in this afternoon’s tie.

If all go we well, prolific goal-poacher and skipper – Asamoah Gyan, will return to action in a bid to screw things up at the top of attack. In his absence, the Stars’ front-men of Majid Warris and inexperienced Afriyie Acquah gravely lacked a lot of bite going forward.

Though not very fit as expected, Gyan has confided in close friends that he would want to play “even if I have to play with one foot.”

Suspended Jordan Ayew will also return, but older brother Andre Ayew – who suffered a thigh injury in Uganda, has now been ruled out.

Heartily, all the players see this afternoon’s gut-wrenching as a do-and-die affair. They know there is no room for complacency.

“We have to go all out in this game and I’m sure we will qualify for the Nations Cup,” said the alluring Everton forward, Atsu.

Atsu, known as the African Messi, may have spoken the mind of his colleagues. But Ghanaians would certainly expect a remarkable performance from the entire team until victory is utterly accomplished.

The last time the Stars played in Tamale, they cruised to a meritorious 3-1 victory over Guinea, and will be relying on the never-ending support of the fans there to post a double over the Togolese.

Though they just need a draw to qualify, many expect the Stars to dash for the jugular – and possibly record a decent win.

By John Vigah

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