Ethiopia will welcome Ghana to the Addis Ababa Sports Stadium on Sunday knowing very well that any result other than victory means they would have to wait for two more years to fight for another qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations.
Coach Abraham Mebratu's 23-man squad is dominated by home-based stars, with the exception of foreign-based Shemeles Bekele, Gattuoch Panom and Omad Okuri.
In the first leg at Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana hammered the Walias 5-0 thanks to goals from Asamoah Gyan, John Boye and Ebenezer Ofori, as well as a brace from Rafael Dwamena. However, Dwamena and Ofori failed to make the squad this time due to a dip in form.
|Game||Ethiopia v Ghana|
|Date||Sunday, November 18|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In Ghana, the game will be televised live on GBC and SuperSport
|TV channel||Online stream|
SuperSport 9 East
|Ghana (local TV channel)||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Richard Ofori, Lawrence Ati-Zigi|
|Defenders||Afful, Boye, Agbenyenu, A.Yiadom, Jona Mensah, Nuhu|
|Midfielders||Andre Ayew, Wakaso, Acquah, Atsu, Ampomah, Partey, Ashimeru|
|Forwards||Jordan Ayew, Gyan, Waris, Boateng|
Despite the withdrawal of Inter Milan star Kwadwo Asamoah due to injury concerns, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has a solid team to battle Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
Following the return of the Ayew brothers, Appiah is expected to make at least six changes in the team that suffered 1-0 defeat to Kenya in September. Goalkeeper Richard Ofori will retain his place in the post, while Harrison Afful, Kasim Adams and Jonathan Mensah will replace Daniel Opare, Daniel Amartey and Nicholas Opoku respectively in defence,
Andre Ayew will likely start alongside Afriyie Acquah, Wakaso Mubarak and Christian Atsu in midfield, with all-time topscorer Asamoah Gyan leading the attack alongside Thomas Partey or Jordan Ayew.
Probable Ghana XI: Richard Ofori, Andy Yiadom, Harrison Afful, Kasim Adams, Jonathan Mensah, Afriyie Acquah, Wakaso Mubarak, Christian Atsu Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Asamoah Gyan
|Defenders||Abdulkarim, Tamene, Rashid, Castro, Tesfaye, Tilahun, Yohanesse, Tilahun|
|Midfielders||Demissie, Tilahun, Mesfin, Markene, Bekele, Panom, Belay|
|Forwards||Kebede, Yalew, Gidey, Wendemu, Gebremikael, Okuri |
Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebrahtu is hoping to upset the Black Stars with a less-fancied side in order to improve their standing in Group F and expect Ghana to overcome Kenya in the final showdown so that the Walias could stage a return to the Afcon finals since 2013.
Probable Ethiopia XI: Asefa, Mohammed, Tamene, Tesfaye, Reshid, Bekele, Panom, Mesfin, Kebede, Hetosa and Belay.
Ghana's sole target is to silence Ethiopia in front of their home fans and confirm their ambitions for Cameroon 2019. The loss to Kenya in September and a ban on Sierra Leone by Fifa have visibly limited the Black Stars' chances of qualifying.
Ethiopia and Ghana have clashed on four occassions in all competitions with Ghana winning three times and losing once.
The hosts currently sit second in Group F with four points. They have conceded eight goals and scored only one in the campaign.
Former Ghana defender Dogo Moro, who won two Afcon titles in 1963 and 1965, has urged the Black Stars to make a huge statement with a win over Ethiopia to underline they still possess the qualities of a great side.
"Ghana is a big football nation so the players must know that any result aside victory would be a disgrace to us especially the former players who gave out their best in the past. Therefore, they should try their best to defeat Ethiopia," Dogo told Goal.
"The players should not focus on winning bonuses and individual glories because that will not help the country to win the game. At this stage, qualification is what is at stake so they should play as a team to achieve results.
Ethiopia coach Abraham Mebratu admits they are underdogs but believes they can upset Ghana to qualify as he did against Yemen to make it to the 2019 Asian Cup.
"I wasn't here in the first leg but I know we lost miserably. The objective now is to hold Ghana and try our best to upset them with any form of victory," he said.
"We can achieve that and I am hoping the players will respond to what we have been going through at training on matchday just like I did with Yemen," he added.