Stars face Mauritania today

The Black Stars of Ghana will engage the national team of Mauritania (Al-Murabitun) at the Accra Sports Stadium in an international friendly match today.

It is coming exactly three days after the Stars laboured to record a lone goal victory over the Harambee stars of Kenya in their final Egypt 2019 AFCON qualifiers.

The Mauritanians lost their last group game 0-1 to Group I counterparts, Burkina Faso but with 12 points apiece with leaders Angola, they managed to qualify from second place.

They come in as last minute replacement for Rwanda who pulled out for inexplicable reasons.

It will be a good test for the two countries that now focus on preparation for the AFCON and their respective managers expected to use the tie to test their fringe players.

For Black Stars Coach, Kwesi Appiah, especially, who left many fans unconvinced with the performance against the Kenyans; the game represents another opportunity to entertain the fans with those that did not feature.

Against fellow AFCON candidates, the Stars will be assured of another difficult and composed opposition as the Al-Murabitun try to build a stronger and formidable side to make an impact at their maiden AFCON appearance.

The fact that they emerged as one of the foremost countries to book a qualifying ticket speaks volumes of their readiness to take the continent by storm and the reason why Appiah must take the game very serious despite plans to reshuffle the squad.

But it is also important to try some of the players that were invited for the Kenya game if Appiah was to have a good knowledge about them.

That means, today’s encounter will be one for the likes of Lawrence Ati (Sochaux, France) or Felix Annan (Asante Kotoko, Ghana) in the goalkeeping department.

At the back, Kwadwo Asamoah of Inter Milan, Italy would surely be out again while Daniel Opare will also take a rest today, making Andy Yiadom (Reading Football Club, England), Amos Frimpong (Asante Kotoko, Ghana) Nuhu Kassim (1899 Hoffeinheim, Germany) Nicholas Opoku (Udinese, Italy) and Joseph Aidoo (Genk, Belgium) preferred candidates.

Andre Ayew, Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu and Thomas had their time in the competitive Kenya clash but a couple of them will sure be selected to partner the likes of Kwame Bonsu (Asante Kotoko, Ghana), Ernest Asante ( Al Jazira, UAE), Alhassan Wakaso (Vitoria S.C, Portugal), Jeffery Schlupp ( Crystal Palace, England) and Alfred Duncan (Sassuolo, Italy) to boss the midfield.

AFC Wimbledon star, Kwesi Appiah will surely get the nod with either Caleb Ekuban or any of the established stars upfront. Despite the massive changes expected, Appiah is likely to have a decent team to beat their Mauritanian counterpart to convince fans of their readiness to challenge for the AFCON.

BY ANDREW NORTEY

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