Ghanaian midfielder Mohammed Muntari scored the consolation for Qatari side Eljaish in their 2-1 defeat against Bunyodkor in the Asian Asian Football Champions League.
Muntari, recently sold to the Qatari side by ex-Ghana international Nii Odartey Lamptey, struck early in the second half to cancel out Sergii Symonenko’s early goal.
But Rashidov’s late volley ensured that it will be the Uzbekistan champions who will be playing in the Round of 16 next month.
Having stated the game three points behind Eljaish in Group B, Bunyodkor began brightly and they took the lead in the 13th minute.
Sardor Sabirkhodjaev’s free-kick was dropped by Eljaish goalkeeper Ahmed Sofyan after he collided with one of his defenders.
Bakhodir Pardaev picked up the loose ball and although his shot was blocked by an El Jaish defender, Symonenko was able to turn it in from close range.
Eljaish improved after the break and they got back on level terms in the 52nd minute. A long ball from the back was chested down by Muntari and he then volleyed a powerful shot from just inside the area past goalkeeper Akbar Turaev despite the attention of of Hayrulla Karimov and Sergii Symonenko.
The Qatari side seemed to be on their way to the last 16 but in a frantic conclusion to the game, Bunyodkor snatched the victory.
By Robert Norton
As this is written there is 50 days, 7 hours, 55 minutes and 17 seconds until the World Cup kicks off. On June 16th Team USA will attempt a win against Ghana in Natal at the Estadio das Dunas. An interesting beginning for the men’s national team as it truly is a celebration of one’s natal day.
Having been drawn into Group G, affectionately labeled “The Group of Death”, with Portugal, Germany and United States, Ghana certainly is the underdog of the four teams.
They are certainly not to be counted out. Some quick stats will justify why the United States should be concerned about their first round matchup with the Blackstars.
- The team has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times, while appearing nineteen times.
- Has won the West African Nations Cup five times in 1982-1984 & 1986-1987. The Tournament was not held in 1985.
- In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they became only the third African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. The United States men’s team is aware of Ghana’s presence in this match.
- They have had 3 World Cup appearances in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Ghana became the only team in Africa to reach four consecutive semi-finals of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations twice, from 1963 and 1970 and from 2008 and 2013. There is a certain amount of excitement for this countries resurgence in the eyes of the world. Having become successfully ranked high enough for FIFA, Ghana started their bid for the 2014 World Cup by winning their group and eventually going on to beat Egypt 7-3 on aggregate in a two legged play off.
The last time Ghana and The United States met in a World Cup match, the Blackstars beat the U.S. in extra time 2-1 propelling them into the quarter-finals. With an unfortunate loss to Uruguay on a flagrant handball by Luis Suarez, Ghana looks to return with impressive form.
The men’s U.S. team needs to be ready for this match, Ghana is looking for a rebirth on the pitch and coach James Kwesi Appiah is ready to make his team champions. “I think there are going to be a lot of surprises in this group,” he said calmly, beaming with a warm, reassuring smile.
Leicester City’s Jeffery Schlupp is hoping to cap a memorable season by winning a place in Ghana’s World Cup squad.
Schlupp, who has played an instrumental role in helping Leicester win promotion back to the Premier League, is expected to be named in Ghana’s provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah is thought to be a big admirer of Schlupp, with the 21-year-old’s versatility in that he can play in a variety of positions making him a key option in his squad.
Schlupp, who has made one appearance for Ghana, has revealed he has spoken to Appiah and that he would jump at the chance of making the trip to Brazil.
“I have spoken to him [Appiah] a few times and he has always said, ever since I was first capped in 2011, that as long as I was playing regular football he would keep an eye on me,” Schlupp said.
“It has come at a good time, to be playing regular football in a promotion-winning team and with the World Cup coming this year. You never know, so fingers crossed.
“There are a few friendlies at the end of the month so I will be speaking to him again shortly and I will see what he says.”
Schlupp was forced to miss the midweek win over Bolton after picking up a knock against Queens Park Rangers last weekend, but the injury is not thought to be serious and the player is expected to be fit to face Huddersfield on Saturday.
Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko have started talks with their coach Mas-ud Didi Dramani over the possibility of extending his expiring contract.
The board of the Porcupine Warriors have initiated the move to extend the contract even though they have not placed a firm offer on the table for the title-winning coach.
Speculation is rife that Dramani is being courted by their arch rival Hearts of Oak who are likely to sack their underperforming coach Mohammed Polo.
Dramani says he has started talks with the leadership of Kotoko over a proposal to extend the contract.
“I have a contract with the club and the contract has not ended. I have had preliminary talks with the managers and it’s the club that has to come out with a proposal and then I can come out but for now, we are yet to conclude talks. We are still talking,” Coach Dramani told Power FM.
Dramani’s contract with Kotoko expires in June and even though they have failed to make an impact in Africa they are set to win their second title in a row in his two years in charge.
Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari says he is focused on getting his Italian club AC Milan to finish well in the league rather than Ghana’s quest at the World Cup as the tournament in Brazil is two months away.
AC Milan have struggled this term and must win their next two matches to secure a place in the Europa League next season.
Fans of the Italian club are afraid that their Ghana star is thinking about the Black Stars challenge at the World Cup in June rather than AC Milan’s difficult season.
Muntari says he is currently focused on his duties with AC Milan as Ghana’s challenge at the World Cup has got some weeks to go.
“I’m not thinking about the World Cup in Brazil, we’re all focused on the league,” Muntari told the Milan Channel on Thursday.
Ghana will play Germany, Portugal and USA in Group G of the World Cup in June.
By Ameenu Shardow
Follow on Twitter @alooameenu
Ghanaian youngster Divine Yassamba Narh has started training with English giants Manchester City, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.
The 17-year-old becomes the latest product from Ghana’s Right to Dream Academy to have a stint with the Sky Blues.
The midfielder popularly known as ‘Mallam’ is part of the current Ghana U20 squad that will begin their African Cup qualifier next month.
Narh met up with compatriot Dominic Oduro at Manchester City as he looks to also impress to earn a permanent stay with the English giants.
By Emmanuel Baa-Aboagye
Kotoko chief Samuel Opoku Nti has dismissed allegations of match-fixing against his club following recent shocking defeats in the Ghanaian top-flight.
The Porcupine Warriors were clobbered 3-1 by All Stars on Wednesday to delay their championship triumph.
However, there are many who are simply not buying their recent slips after a 1-10 defeat to Inter Allies last Saturday.
But Kotoko General Manager Samuel Opoku Nti insists they are not on a match-fixing spree.
“Anytime Kotoko draws or loses a match, there are widespread allegations of wrong-doing from your detractors but for me, if your player commits a blunder, you get people pointing accusing fingers,” he said.
“If a goalkeeper commits a mistake, people are fast to allege that that goalkeeper has taken bribes. But for me, I would not allow these claims to distract my focus as far as what I want to achieve for Kotoko is concerned.
“In football, no matter what a team does, no team can win all of its matches to win the league title. The three principles in football are bound to happen. The only thing is that when they happen, they serve as a wake-up call.
“When Kotoko was winning matches, nobody alleged that such wins were fixed but the reverse happens when Kotoko loses matches”.
He claimed fatigue has taken a toll on the side.
“I think fatigue has set in and if the club were to be financially strong now, I would ensure that the players are taken to camp because it has proven to pay off, especially looking at the results of the team in our first 7 matches after our pre-season in Wa,” he claimed
“Such a move would help bolster discipline in the team and also help to ensure that some of the players’ lifestyles are kept under control especially with the remainder of our matches.
“We need to work out something to generate funds to undertake this. Don’t forget the ban on us has also worked against the club”.
Kotoko have managed just 5 points from their last 7 matches.
The Ghana FA have sealed another sponsorship agreement with Blue Rose Ghana Limited for the Black Stars.
The sponsorship deal sees the Real Estate firm hand over a three-bedroom house valued at Gh250,000 (almost $90,000) to the Ghana FA.
The association will however decide on what to use the building for.
The deal comes just on the heels of another sealed sponsorship agreement between the Ghana FA and Cheki Ghana Limited for the Black Stars.
Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi believes the new sponsorship agreement will have a significant impact on the operations of the association.
“The Black Stars is the flagship product of the Ghana FA,” he said.
“We expect the Black Stars to excel and by excelling we mean improving on the performance of the team at the last World Cup.
“And to do this we need the total support of all Ghanaians. We need money, we need prayers, we need moral support.
“Today, Blue Rose is offering us a house and that house is not transportable so it cannot be taken to Brazil.
“But it will be stationed in Ghana to give some help to the team. It will host our guests of if the coach wants to stay there we will be more than willing to give it to him.”
Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi has rubbished a 30-man provisional Black Stars World Cup squad released by the Ghana News Agency, describing it as ‘a figment of someone’s imagination’.
The state-owned news agency published the list on Wednesday claiming it to be that of coach Kwesi Appiah which was leaked as the squad to be sent to FIFA for June’s tournament in Brazil.
The squad published by the GNA on Wednesday had England-based duo Jeffery Schlupp and Emmanuel Frimpong as the surprise inclusions in the squad.
Experienced midfielder Anthony Annan also made the squad despite not being regular for his German club Schalke 04, likewise Austrian-based defender Isaac Vorsah.
The purported leaked list which generated a lot of debate in Ghana however did not include Afriyie Acquah who is one of Ghana’s consistent performers in Europe this season.
But Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi says the list fast gaining grounds is not authentic as Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah is yet to present his selection for the World Cup.
“This purported leaked list is the figment of someone’s imagination,” Nyantakyi told reporters on Thursday.
“I think someone dreamt of it and decided to publish it but the coach is yet to present anything to us.
“It is speculation and not official. He [Kwesi Appiah] will present his list to us on May 12 and it will be announced.”
There has been a lot of excitement in Ghana ahead of the naming of the squad for the 2014 World Cup.
Coach Kwesi Appiah will name his provisional squad by May 12 ahead of their trip to Rotterdam to begin intensive preparations towards June’s tournament in Brazil.
By Ameenu Shardow
Follow on Twitter @alooameenu
Cheki Ghana Limited has signed a two-year agreement with the Ghana FA to become a sponsor of the Black Stars ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
The online car selling and buying firm www.cheki.com.gh signed the agreement worth $100,000 at a ceremony held at the Ghana FA headquarters in Accra on Thursday.
Country Director of Cheki Eric Amoako Twum says the opportunity to associate with a powerful brand like the Black Stars was too much of an attraction to ignore.
“The Black Stars is the passion of the nation and we wanted to be part of something that truly binds the nation like the Black Stars,” he told GHANAsoccernet.com.
“We are looking to grow our brand and for us, the Black Stars provides us with the most powerful support needed to do this.”
Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi who signed the agreement on behalf of the Ghana FA says the new sponsorship deal will help further enhance the finances needed to guarantee the continued success of the Black Stars.
“What this sponsorship does is that it makes the kitty for the Black Stars bigger so that we are able to offer better bonuses to the players and also employ competent staff,” he said.
“Money plays a very key role in the success of any organisation especially football and we are happy with this new sponsorship agreement.”
Ghana will be making a third successive appearance at the World Cup this June in Brazil.
The Black Stars look to go at least one better than their quarter final feat achieved in the last finals four years ago in South Africa.