The Black Stars are fancied to advance to the play-offs spot for the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers when they host Zambia at the Baba Yara Stadium in the Group D decider.
Zambia lie in second place in Africa Group D, just a point behind Ghana, and the two sides lock horns bearing in mind that the winner would top the group and thus guarantee themselves a place in the final play-off for qualification to Brazil 2014.
A plethora of diversionary tactics from the Chipolopolo camp has not hit the Black Stars a bit as GFA capo, Kwesi Nyantakyi, insists the Ghanaian team is focused and nothing can push them away from the path of glory.
Zambia FA president, Kalusha Bwalya, and coach Herve Renard have been at the forefront of the mind game, the last of which was a baseless flight landing allegations against Ghana.
To show the importance the Zambia government and the entire nation attach to the Ghana game, the team has for the first time been promised a winning bonus of $10,000 a player.
But aware of the importance the match holds for themselves and their nation Ghana, the Black Stars have since assembling last Monday, made their intentions clear that today’s game is not going to be one of a predictable twist.
They believe so, having worked hard to pit themselves at the top of their group after losing 0-1 to Zambia in the first group game in Lusaka.
For the Black Stars a good opportunity is presented to them not only to pay the Zambians back with defeat but also to enforce their resolve to get to Brazil at all cost.
Hear Asamoah Gyan:”For us, this is a match of our lives. We have come a long way and Zambia cannot stand in our way.”
The captain, who appeared a doubt for the match after limping off training in Accra on Tuesday, said, ”We have promised the nation that we will deliver the goods and there is no turning back.”
Having sworn to teach the tough-talking Zambians a footballing lesson today, and against the background of the massive support from Ghanaians, expectations are high among Ghanaians.
The return of the triumvirate – Kevin-Prince Boateng, Michael Essien and Andre Ayew – has emboldened Ghana’s coach, Kwasi Appiah, notwithstanding the imminent selection headache. Ayew, the Olympique
Marseille winger and Chelsea’s Essien trained on the first day in Kumasi, while Boateng sat on the sidelines with his personal physiotherapist, having been asked by team doctors to take a rest. He is expected to be ready for action today.
A careful balance of the two teams puts Ghana ahead of the Zambians in terms of quality and pedigree.
A squad of the likes of keeper Fatau Dauda, defenders Daniel Opare, Harrison Afful, John Boye and Jonathan Mensah, midfielders, Rabiu Mohammed, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mubarak wakaso, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, and attackers Abdul Majid Warris and Asamoah Gyan (if he is fit) would be too hot for Zambia to handle.
Herve Renard, who is also battling with some injury problems, is coming with a team dominated by foreign players with Kennedy Mweene in post . Backed by defenders Chintu, Musonda, Munthali, Chama and Chongo, they appear somehow solid at the back.
Their strength lies in the middle where Christopher Katongo, Mulenga, Tembo and Kalaba provide a dangerous mobile force.
In attack Emmanuel Mayuka and Mbesuma are the key men, but the big question is how they can get through the determined Stars defence.