Ghana host Egypt in Kumasi on Tuesday to compete the first legs of the African 2014 World Cup play-offs.
The two-legged tie has the makings of a classic with the Black Stars aware that they face a might battle against the continent’s football’s form team for the right to reach next year’s finals in Brazil.
Egypt are the only African side with a 100% record in qualifying.
And it also unclear whether the second leg will be held in Cairo, with Fifa asking Egypt for security guarantees before the 19 November game.
That is in response to Ghana’s request for the match to be switched from the Egyptian capital because of safety fears as the country continues to suffer from political unrest and outbreaks of violence following the ousting of President Morsi.
Uncertainty over the second leg brings more pressure on Ghana in the first tie, with the Black Stars even more aware of their need for a good result to take to what could well be a difficult environment.
Additionally, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah will be without midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng as the midfielder suffered an injury playing for his German club Schalke last week.
Boateng’s withdrawal was criticised by some fans who questioned whether the player’s injury was as serious as claimed.
It forced the President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, to defend the player and he told BBC Sport: “”It would be unfair to think that somebody can feign injury. We should sympathise with him and pray that he recovers soon, so he can stage a comeback to the Black Stars team.”
Regardless, the absence of Boateng is a big blow to Ghana, who are also without their first-choice centre-backs John Boye and Jonathan Mensah.
In contrast, Egypt coach Bob Bradley has no major injury concerns to deal with and is confident he can steer the country to their first World Cup finals appearance since 1990.
His squad is packed full of home-based players – largely drawn from Al Ahly and Zamalek – and it is remarkable how they have been able to beat all before them given the severe disruptions to football in Egypt since the Port Said disaster, where more than 70 fans died in February 2012 , and ongoing political and security issues.
Bradley told BBC Sport: ” We have worked hard to prepare ourselves, we know the Ghana team very well. We respect them but we also feel that we are a strong team and we are confident.
“We must have the right mentality for the start of the match and play intelligently.
“The players have remained determined to make this dream happen and we are focused on the final round and finishing what we have been working to do.”