In 1471, a Portuguese by name of Don Diego de Azambuja landed on the shores of Ghana for the first time. It signalled the arrival of the first Europeans on the shores of Ghana and the first meeting between the two nations. It’s been war ever since. At the RAS Abu Aboud stadium in Qatar, the Black Stars of Ghana will play their first group game against another Portugal side, this time around led by Cristiano Ronaldo.
In a game that promises to deliver sumptuous football, the Black Stars have a lot to prove. The last time Ghana played on the world stage was in 2014 against Portugal. That game ended 2:1 in favour of the Portuguese.
Captain Dede Ayew and his brother Jordan are the Only two players from that team in Qatar today. Ghana has assembled a fine crop of players to represent the country in Qatar. This fine selection of players means a headache for coach Otto Addo.
Lawrence Ati Zigi is expected to start in goal with Daniel Amartey and Mohammed Salisu pairing in the heart of the defence. This selection sees Strasbourg starter Alexander Djiku relegated to the bench. That’s the beginning of otto’s headache.
In midfield, Party will get the nod. The real problem is who partners the Arsenal midfielder. There’s Salis Samed who’s had an excellent club run for Lens in the French league 1. In his few starts for the blacks stars, Salis has shown excellent form.
Then there is Elisha Owusu and the much-rated Daniel Kofi Kyere. Kyereh is arguably Ghana’s most talented midfielder. In a Black Stars lineup, he can stretch play, take on defenders and has an eye for excellent long-range passes. KyerehH as scored twice in nine games this season, for Freiburg. Elisha Owusu is yet to find the net for Gent but has made an assist and won a majority of his midfield duels this season. Kamaldeen on the other hand has featured in ten games for Rennes and has netted once assisting three more.
Against Portugal, Ghana must win the midfield field battle to stand any chance of winning the game.
In attack, the BlackStars have a plethora of different skill sets and talents to choose from. There’s Jordan Ayew, Osman Bukari who has an electric pace, Inaki Williams who seems to be Ghana’s best choice goal poacher, inform Mohammed Kûdüs, pacey Kamaldeen Sulemana and the hardworking Daniel Afriyie Barnieh. The difficulty lies in which three-man attack will line up to represent the black stars.
Kudus is starting for the stars. Kudus and Inaki have 10 goals and four assists between them this season. Andre Ayew, however, is Ghana’s most experienced player, for the club side, he’s played a total of seven games and has scored twice while assisting once for Al Sadd. For Ghana, he has a total of 23 goals and 10 of those goals have come in major tournaments for Ghana. He is the country’s big game player.
No matter who starts for Ghana, there’s one thing we know for sure. That the majority of the Ghanaian people will be rallying behind the white and yellow jerseys as we sing God bless our homeland.
Story by Edem Vine Tutu