Ghana’s locally assembled senior football team, Black Galaxies, will test the readiness of World Cup hosts – Qatar, as they battle the Middle East country in a special four-nation tournament in Austria today.
This afternoon’s game will be the first and only game the Ghanaians would be playing at the tournament, having forfeited their opening game against Jamaica last Saturday due to their late arrival at the FIFA sanctioned tournament – which is bounded by the 72 hours extra recovery time after long international travels.
Whereas Qatar, who are in Group A of the World Cup with Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands, are using the tournament as part of preparations for the Mundial in November, the Galaxies see the game as a good test for the final phase of the 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against the Coach Salisu Yusuf-led CHAN Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday at the Cape Coast Stadium.
Coach Daniel Annor Walker believes today’s trial game would afford him a great opportunity to gauge the mental fortitude of his boys ahead of the cliffhanger against the Nigerians.
Having brushed aside the Squirrels of Benin on both legs, Walker is 180 minutes away from a return to the CHAN tournament for the first time since 2014.
“This game would be a morale booster for the team as we face the Nigeria and I know we would give a very good account of ourselves this afternoon,” he told the Times Sports yesterday.
The coach rued the missed opportunity of playing against Jamaica over the weekend, noting that it was through no fault of the team.
For the Qatari Maroon, whose second half brilliance saw them play out a 2-2 draw with the Atlas Lions of Morocco last Saturday at the Wiener Neustadt Stadium in northern Austria, the game against Ghana is one they are keenly looking out for to see how they would fare, especially as they have a date against African champions Senegal at the World Cup.
Coach Félix Sánchez Bas believes Ghana has a similar style to that of Senegal and would largely be looking forward to picking valuable lessons from today’s encounter.
The Galaxies will forfeit their final game against Morocco and return to Ghana by Thursday, three clear days ahead of the Nigeria clash.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY