The Black Stars host the 2012 Afcon winners in the final Group D battle to determine which side secures passage to the play-offs
Afful, Boye, Sumaila, Inkoom
Rabiu, KP Boateng, Asamoah
Adomah, Atsu, Gyan
HEARTS OF OAK
Nkausu, Mbola, Himoonde, Sunzu
Sinkala, Kalaba, Mulenga, Katongo
From the very start of the qualifying process, this was the game most Ghanaians and Zambians excitedly yet somewhat uneasily felt could decide which of the two favourites topped the pile, and indeed it has.
There is a certain backdrop to this match, though, that gives it a particularly feisty edge. Zambia have proved a bogey side for Ghana's Black Stars lately, beating the four-time African champions by 1-0 scorelines, first en route to winning the 2012 Afcon, and then in the earlier group fixture last year.
Ghana would like nothing more than to rid themselves of the Chipolopolo's shackles once and for all, and doing so on their own territory under such high-octane circumstances would doubtlessly provide special satisfaction.
Nothing but three points would do for Zambia, be it as they trail Ghana by 11 points to 12, while the latter can afford to pick just one more point and still make the play-offs, a task made a tad less difficult by the return of Michael Essien, Andre Ayew and Kevin-Prince Boateng to national duty.
Coaches Kwesi Appiah (Ghana) and Herve Renard (Zambia), two of the continent's finest managerial brains, would be obliged to leave no stone unturned in their quest to grab the sole ticket on offer.
It should be an epic meeting, from all indications.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Whichever team wins would later be required to emerge unscathed from a two-legged tie against a yet unknown opponent to qualify for Brazil 2014.
- Ghana's Michael Essien lost his dad only days before the Zambia game.
- Herve Renard, current coach of Zambia, was a member of Ghana's technical team in an earlier era.
- Ghana are seeking a third (successive) World Cup appearance while Zambia chase their first.
- Ghana have scored the most goals among the African teams involved in the World Cup qualifying series, 16.
- Ghana and Zambia are placed 24th and 60th respectively on the latest Fifa rankings of the world's national football sides.