Lesotho - Ghana Preview: Points and pride on offer as Crocodiles battle Black Stars
The west Africans need a win badly to capture the top hoping the Sudan v Zambia fixture go their way as the road to Brazil 2014 shapes up
By Nana Frimpong
The Sesotho Stadium, Maseru, will host the penultimate matchday fixture between Lesotho and Ghana - the sides placed second and third respectively in Group D of Africa’s 2014 World Cup qualification session - come Sunday.
Close as their respective positions on the table seem, there is precious little between the countries in reality, with Ghana being some seven points clear of their opponents. Thus the game does not hold much for the hosts who along with bottom-ranking Sudan have already been practically eliminated from the process.
Still, they would be only too eager to throw a spoke into the Black Stars' Brazil-bound wheels and would certainly seek to go down fighting. To do so, the Likuena would hardly lack motivation, having found themselves on the wrong end of a 7-0 thrashing by the Ghanaians in the reverse fixture last year, and would find added confidence in the fact that they have lost just once in three qualifying games since that humiliation.
Ghana, on the other hand, would consider victory a non-negotiable priority for entirely different reasons. The Black Stars, in spite of their 3-1 victory away to Sudan a week ago, still trail table-topping Zambia by a single point, and would be fully conscious of the fact that a good result away to Lesotho would count for plenty should the Zambians falter against Sudan, possibly ensuring they go into the all-important final group game versus the Chipolopolo slightly on top.
Needless to say, the Ghanaians do have the wherewithal to dispatch Lesotho with a measure of ease, boasting a team that has scored the most goals in the African qualifying series (14) thus far and conceding just two in the process.
Thus, spirited as the hosts are likely to turn up on the day, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah would certainly expect an emphatic display from his boys. For a fact, nothing less would do.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Ghana's 7-0 thrashing of Lesotho was the second occasion on which the southern Africans have beencondemned to an identical score, with the first occurring against Zaire (now DR Congo) a decade ago.
Lesotho have never qualified for any major international tournament in their history.
Ghana (21) are some 134 places above their opponents (155) in the current Fifa rankings.
A brace in Ghana's last qualifier against Sudan saw Al-Ain forward Asamoah Gyan reportedly depose Abedi Ayew as the Black Stars' most prolific player ever, notching his 33rd (33 being the supposed previous record) and 34th international goals in that game.
Ghana are seeking a sixth consecutive win in encounters against Lesotho.
Ghana have participated at the last two Fifa World Cups.
Top 3 Predictions
Lesotho 0-3 Ghana
- 25.49 %
Lesotho 0-2 Ghana
- 14.71 %
Lesotho 0-4 Ghana
- 13.73 %
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Africa) (WCQA)||Jun 16, 2013||Lesotho 0 - Ghana 2|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Africa) (WCQA)||Jun 1, 2012||Ghana 7 - Lesotho 0|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Africa) (WCQA)||Oct 11, 2008||Ghana 3 - Lesotho 0|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Africa) (WCQA)||Jun 8, 2008||Lesotho 2 - Ghana 3|
|Sep 8, 2013||Sudan 1 - Lesotho 3||WCQA|
|Jul 17, 2013||Zimbabwe 1 - Lesotho 0||CSC|
|Jul 14, 2013||Angola 1 - Lesotho 1||CSC|
|Jul 11, 2013||Lesotho 2 - Swaziland 0||CSC|
|Jul 9, 2013||Lesotho 3 - Botswana 3||CSC|
|-||Litšepe Leonty Marabe||Midfielder|
|7||Bushy Moletsane Moletsane||Midfielder|
|21||Lehlomela George Ramabele||Striker|
|4||Christian Twasam Atsu||Striker|
|-||Abdul Rahman Baba||Defender|
|-||Mahatma Osumanu Otoo||Striker|
While he might not be very known, Motheri Ntobo is, in his own right, a fairly accomplished defender, having played for a range of clubs in the continent's southern, western, and northern parts. In that sense, the 33-year old is a rare gem among his team-mates, most of whom have never been employed outside their homeland, and Lesotho coach Leslie Notsi would count heavily on his accumulated experience against a menacing Ghanaian attack.
Asamoah Gyan certainly is a man in inspired form, having just earned his place as his country's greatest ever goalscorer albeit a fact disputed in some circles. Quite reasonably, then, he would be eager to add to his 34-goal count against a side that ships in plenty, and would also feel a great mantle of responsibility as captain of the Black Stars.
Ghana, by virtue of possessing greater motivation and in infinitely better shape, are expected to give Lesotho a proper hiding, but perhaps with a few goals shy of the tally they registered in the earlier leg. Lesotho would consider themselves spared by any scoreline narrower than 3-0.