Galaxies, beware! …take your own food, water to Abuja

African football is replete with a landslide of weird off-pitch incidents that are almost always left uninvestigated.

In their state of hopelessness and desperation, host teams have in many cases been found using all kinds of means to achieve victory – damning the repercussions.

Most often than not, protests from countries or teams that suffer supposed horrendous treatments, are flung into the abyss; or even when decisions are taken, it does not have any bearing on the match result.

It is against this throbbing backdrop that one is calling on the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to be on the qui vive as the Black Galaxies head for the city of Abuja for the final leg qualifier of the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) against their Nigerian counterparts – the CHAN Eagles.

The Galaxies exhibited some polished football to beat the Eagles 2-0 at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday. That important victory placed the doughty-charactered Ghanaians in strong position to qualify for the Algeria 2023 CHAN tournament. Two second half goals from Daniel Afriyie Barnieh and Seidu Suraj capped an engaging afternoon of deluxe football.

Ghana has failed to qualify for the last three CHAN tournaments, and that embarrassment must be cut short. Halting it demands a lot of planning and decisiveness. And, it is the belief of Ghanaians that having come this far, the GFA would not take things for granted and leave things to chance.

Remember, the Nigerians have sworn to do everything possible to get the Galaxies out of their way and pluck a ticket that would unquestionably serve as sweet revenge for their painful loss to the Black Stars in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier at the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Indeed, till today, every Nigerian is left talking about that March 30 elimination by the Black Stars that has seen them miss the Mundial, hoping that the CHAN Eagles would give them something to alleviate that deep-seated agony.

The Galaxies may be spending only 48 hours or so in Abuja, but it would be all-too expedient for the team to carry their own foodstuffs, water, security and their cook throughout the period. Nothing should be left to chance. The Nigerians are on a mission.

Aside from the aforementioned, there could be plans to disqualify some of our top players and attribute it to Covid. This is African football!

In this sense, we need to carry our own items to Abuja in order to avoid anything that might contaminate the safety protocols of our players against the coronavirus pandemic.

We also have to doubly ensure that the rooms and other apartments, including the rooms of the hotels where the players will lodge in Abuja, are wholly sanitised.

In June, this year, four key members of Ghana’s U-17 team (Black Maidens) were ruled out of a crucial qualifier after Moroccan officials said they had tested positive for COVID-19. It was a crucial final qualifier to the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to be staged in India, next month.

Ghanaian officials protested vehemently against the Covid test results which they believed were inaccurate – but rather perfectly executed by the Moroccans to gain advantage. Sadly, the Match Commissioner turned the other way and insisted the game should proceed.

Nobody must underestimate an encore happening elsewhere. It is called strategy of paralysis!

On the field of play, though, our players must show extra commitment, enormous valour – and be prepared to ‘die’ out of exhaustion rather than give up.

Looking at the quality that the Galaxies have exuded in all their games, it would take a performance of humongous magnitude from their hosts to subdue them. But, once again, let us be on red alert – full vigilance on and off the terrain!

BY JOHN VIGAH

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