Uganda-Ghana: Black Stars up for Kampala test
Coach Kwesi Appiah's men are set for an all-important away fixture which could determine their status in the Russia 2018 qualifying

On Saturday, a new-look Ghana side will attempt to upset the odds at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala where they play as guests to Uganda in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying.

On the face of it, it looks as though the Black Stars will be lining up for a scrimmage, but no, Saturday's game will determine whether the Black Stars could keep their slim chance of reaching Russia 2018 or lose it for good.

Four points adrift of group leaders Egypt and two behind Uganda, the Black Stars need to win at all cost on the penultimate matchday to remain in the race, even if the victory could be rendered useless should the Pharaohs beat bottom-placed Congo on Sunday.

A win for Egypt will mean, even if Ghana beat Uganda, the Pharaohs will still stay four points clear ahead of their final matchday clash, a game which can only offer three points in the maximum.

There's, therefore, everything to play for on Saturday, even if Ghana will have to do without a host of big names.

Andre Ayew and brother Jordan were not named to Ghana's provisional 26-man squad for the game amid rumours that a combination of underperformance and commitment concerns may have accounted for their snub.

Due to fitness issues, John Boye and Afriyie Acquah were not considered at all, but Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu, Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah and youngster Thomas Agyepong, who all made the preliminary list, have been forced to withdraw due to injury.

Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah continues his sabbatical from the national team while Mubarak Wakaso, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Razak Brimah have not been called up since coach James Kwesi Appiah took over in May.

This leaves the Stars with a depleted team, although not necessarily short on options.

Augsburg right-back Daniel Opare, who has been called up for the first time since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is expected to fit in at right-back, while debutant Kasim Adams Nuhu, Nicholas Opoku and locally-based Vincent Atingah battle it out for the right to partner Daniel Amartey in the heart of defence.

Returnee Frank Acheampong is tipped for a starting spot on the flanks but Kingsley Sarfo and Patrick Twumasi, who are both chasing their first caps, are available to take up the other wing position.

In attack, Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, who hit a double in the 5-1 win over Congo last month, is expected to lead the line alongside FC Zurich striker Raphael Dwamena, who is back in the national side after withdrawing from the Congo double-header.

Ghana's last visit to Uganda ended in a 1-0 defeat in 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Coupled with Uganda's stunning home win over Egypt last month, the Cranes will not be wrong to fancy another triumph on Saturday.

Moses Basena’s side need three points as much as Ghana. Two points below Egypt, the consequences will be dire for the Cranes should they miss out on full points and the Pharaohs win.

"Personally, I'm set together with my teammates to encounter Ghana," striker Emmanuel Okwi has told his FA's official website.

"This is almost a game of our lives. We must win to stay in contention for the World Cup slot."

Article continues below

If Uganda will win three points on Saturday, a lot will be demanded of Okwi, and more so Royal Excel Mouscron hitman Faruku Miya.

Joseph Ochaya has been ever solid at left-back but the man who could make the biggest impact is goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who was in top form in their 1-0 loss to Egypt on matchday four.

 

form

Uganda
Ghana Ghana
Comments ()