Ghana’s Black Galaxies have their destiny stuck in their own hands when they face the Secretary birds of Sudan in a bubble-or-burst affair at the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria.
The Ghanaians slumped in their opening Group C game against low-rated Island side Madagascar, losing 2-1 on a less-glowing night of football at the Stade Chahid Hamlaoui in Constantine.
Upshot of the game means that the Galaxies need to beat the Sudanese at all cost this evening, the group having been slashed to three teams – following the withdrawal of defending champions Morocco.
The Moroccans pulled out of the campaign after hosts Algeria jettisoned the defending champions’ demands for a direct flight from Rabat to Constantine, where their group matches were to be held, due to the frosty diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In December, last year, Morocco threatened to withdraw from the biennial tournament unless they were permitted to fly in directly from their capital, Rabat, aboard the country’s national airline, Royal Air Maroc – a request they sent to CAF which Algeria turned down in a hurry.
This is the first time Ghana would find itself in a three-team group after the Angola 2010 Nations Cup tournament.
Thirteen years ago, Ghana’s group was reduced to a three-horse race after Togo withdrew from the competition, following a deadly rebel gun attack on the bus taking their delegation to the northern enclave of Cabinda.
The Black Stars got off to an appalling start in that troubled tournament with a 1-3 loss against Cote d’Ivoire, but recovered early enough to beat Burkina Faso 1-0 to qualify for the quarter final stage – proceeding to crack the host nation and reaching the grand final as well.
Perhaps, the Galaxies must brace themselves and tap deeply into this sweet memoir tonight by hunting down the Secretarybirds and extracting the maximum points from them.
Anything aside victory may blow off the hopes and aspirations of the Ghanaians, who were losing finalists in 2009 and 2014.
Of the two combatants, the Sudanese hold a huge advantage because they would have Madagascar to contend with – even when they lose against the Galaxies. It is the reason the Ghanaians must dash for the jugular this evening and make sure they emerge with a good win – strong enough to cruise through.
Truth is, the Galaxies’ performance on Sunday night fell below expectation, looking at the magnitude of their preparations – from Europe through to Egypt and Algeria.
Sweat merchant of the team, Annor Walker, is aware that his charges have had adequate preparations and has assured the team would do their damnedest to qualify for the next round of the competition.
“You will see a different attitude against Sudan. The boys know what is at stake and they cannot afford to fail the nation,” he told the media.
Creative captain of the Galaxies, Gladson Awako, expressed similar sentiments – and Ghanaians can only keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best.
BY JOHN VIGAH