11 Jun

PREVIEW: Ghana vs Ethiopia; Kwesi Appiah starts second reign as the coach of the Black Stars this afternoon against Ethiopia

The Black Stars of Ghana starts the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation qualifier against Ethiopia at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium this afternoon at 15:30 GMT.
The return of the Black Stars to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium marks the debut for the stars since their last game there before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where they played all their qualifying matches.
Since then, games of the Black Stars have been rotated throughout the other national stadia with Accra Sports Stadium and the Tamale Sports Stadium enjoying most of them.
The auphoria that surrounded the Black Stars prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil which got lost after the mundial has started to gain grounds among Ghanaians, especially the people of Ashanti Region who have, undoubtedly, been the biggest "supporters" of the Black Stars.
Coach Kwesi Appiah also returns home to his favourite ground at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium where he has played most of his matches as the gaffer of the senior national team.
Kwesi Appiah has tweak, amongst other things, the squad of the Black Stars with name faces who are making their maiden call-ups into the national team which he was known off during his first spell like Lumor Agbeyenor, Kingsley Sarfo, Nicholas Opoku, Samuel Sarfo, Felix Annan, just to mention few.
Others have had a returned call-up to the national team like Jerry Akaminko who had a broken ligament prior to the World Cup in Brazil and Rashid Sumaila who has been stupendous season in the gulf nation.
Spending most of his time here in Ghana after being named as the national team coach, Kwesi Appiah should have a fair idea of the players called and their abilities and potentials they will be giving to the team in his first attempt against Ethiopia.
Quite a few number of the players called have had a spectacular season with their clubs abroad which will likely make Kwesi Appiah not au fait as to who makes the cut for this against Ethiopia who are in to cause a shock.
Half of the squad that formed an integral part of Avram Grants 2017 AFCON semi-final squad are still part of the team which makes it refreshing in terms of the teams consistency and chemistry.
This game is a crucial one because it is the first game that leads the road to Cameroon 2019 and any faulter will likely derail the high chances of the team getting qualification to the greatest football feast in Africa.
There has not been any inujry report in the camp of the Black Stars which means the team should be in shape with all arsenal available to get it a go against Ethiopia this afternoon at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
Ethiopia on the other hand enters this game as the minors less pressure which keeps them more determined and focused to deliver a very good game this afternoon.
As Zambia and Cote D'Ivoire losing in their maiden qualifying matches to underdogs, Ethiopia will have so much to play for with little or nothing expected from them to surprise the Black Stars this afternoon.
All odds are against the Ethiopians as Ghana should at least have 4 goals pass them but the former are well prepared to get a favourable result back home.
By: Lateef Abdul Sadick
Follow me on twitter @LateefKickgh
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