Super Eagles vs Black Stars climbing ‘afadjato mountain’
The Super Eagles of Nigeria face an epic hurdle in their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar against the Black Stars of Ghana Friday at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi.
The highly anticipated first leg encounter is billed for 8:30 pm on Friday, March 25, while the return leg will hold at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday, March 29.
The match is expected to bring out the best of the fireworks from both teams going by the rivalry antecedent between the two countries and the fact that both the Super Eagles and the Black Stars have a point to prove to their teeming supporters that their dismal displays at the just concluded AFCON tournament in Cameroon were not intended.
Ghana was eliminated at the group stage of the tournament, while Nigeria bowed out at the round of 16, which in both instances was not a welcome outing to the home fans who had expected much more from their darling teams.
Besides the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria in the football field and sports in general dates back to 1950 when Ghana defeated Nigeria 1-0 in a friendly match played in Accra, the last encounter between the two teams was in 2014 African Nations Championship tournament and the game ended in 0–0, however, Ghana went on to win 4-1 in a penalty shootout.
Nigeria has played Ghana at the international level a total of 56 times in which the Super Eagles have only won 12, drawn 19 and lost 25times. Nevertheless, the record cuts across the colonial era when Nigeria was just learning the arts of football.
While the Ghanaians are banking on their past impressive records against Nigeria, the Nigerian fans are confident that going by forms and recent records the Super Eagles are ahead of the Black Stars. More than 90percent of Nigeria’s first 11 players are playing week- in, week – out in top clubs across the globe.
Nigeria is 32nd in FIFA latest ranking, and 3rd in Africa, while Ghana is in the 61st position and 11th in Africa. In terms of the coaching crew, both countries can be said to be at per.
Nigeria is under a new coaching team haven replaced Gernot Rohr with Augustine Eguavoen as interim technical adviser and Emmanuel Amuneke, as the new head coach of the Super Eagles. Otto Addo and Chris Hughton have also been drafted in to replace the sacked coaches of the Black Stars.
In terms of the quality of players, it can be argued and rightly too that Nigeria has an edge over Ghana. Nigeria has top players like Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho, Joseph Aribo, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Dennis, Ademola Lookman, Kenneth Omeruo, among others.
While Ghana, we have the likes of Jordan Ayew, Dennis Odio, Mohammed Kudus, Daniel Amartey, Osman Bukari, Lawrence Ati Zigi, among others.
Nigeria has Victor Osimhen who plies his trade with Napoli FC. He has scored a back-to-back brace for Napoli before joining up with his teammates in the camp as he joined Mohamed Salah, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah as Africans who have scored a double-figure in two consecutive Serie A seasons.
Ghana has Thomas Partey who plays for Arsenal FC, and is the powerhouse of the gunners for that matter. He has been a solid performer since he joined two seasons ago from Atletico Madrid.
Ghana just beefed up its attack with the invitation of Felix Afena-Gyan, FC Roma wonderkid. In his place, Nigeria has Moses Simon, the dazzling winger from Nantes FC.
From all indications, the match is going to be very fierce and entertaining. The two teams have a big mountain to climb if they must get Qatar 202 finals. The hurdle can be compared to climbing Afadjato (885 m) mountain, the highest peak in Ghana.
Nigeria Super Eagles without a doubt have what it takes to surmount the hurdle called Black Stars, and today, the Super Eagles must fly against every odd!