Four-time African champions, Ghana who already have had a feel of the World Cup thrice consecutively have been drawn in Group B together with Egypt, Uganda and Congo in the final round of the African zone qualification race for the show piece at Russia 2018.
Ghana knows how to qualify and in the past have eased their way past equally good sides as South Africa, Egypt, Zambia, Bourkina Faso and the likes, though albeit a tortuous journey to make appearances at Germany, South Africa and Brazil.
The appearance at the World cup now to the ordinary Ghanaian looks as though it were a “birth-right”. The fans see it as a “must-see” tournament and would want everything done by their football authorities to put the team in shape.
Assistant coach Maxwell Konadu cautioned his team to be wary of Egypt ahead of the final round of qualifiers following the draw held in Cairo in June.
He knows Egypt will be looking to revenge for their loss against Ghana in 2013, when they failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after losing 7-3 on aggregate to the Black Stars in the final round of the qualifiers.
Konadu said: “After Ghana defeated Egypt, they have been waiting for the opportunity to tell the world what they can do.
It's a challenge. Ghana scored USA twice at the World Cup in 2006 and 2010 but we saw what happened when we met again in 2014.
Because we scored Egypt seven doesn't mean we can score them again. Ghana need to prepare very well like we did before the 2014 World Cup and the preparation must start now.”
So with Ghana starting preparation now, we deem it appropriate to say our darling team, the Black Stars will qualify, and when they do; here are 6 likely players who we predict might lose their places in the team.
The once a darling boy of the Ghanaian supporters, Kevin-Prince Boateng is said to being lined up for axing from AC Milan and with his last output in the Ghana camp being anything to go by, the midfielder might be snubbed. He was alleged to have gotten himself into altercations with Ghanaian team officials over camp conditions and has since been given the sack.
His outing with the Rossoneris has not been as the club expected and is already looking for suitors for the Ghanaian.
Michael Essien another ex AC Milan player who was once regarded as Ghana’s midfield "superman" is being speculated to have agreed to part ways with his Greek club side, Panathinaikos.
His consistent troubling injury which has blighted his otherwise brilliant career might just not make his former Chelsea coach Avram Grant take a look at him.
Grant will be spoilt for choice in midfield players like Afriyie Acquah, Mubarak Wakaso, Alfred Duncan, Rabiu Mohammed, Thomas Partey, Agyeman Badu, Andre Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoah.
The former Hearts of Oak and now Songdal SC of Norway striker, Mahatma Otoo is one player many touted would fill the gap in the absence of Stars captain Asamoah Gyan but has woefully disappointed many.
His on-and-off fortunes which saw him help carry his team back into the Norwegian top-flight made his coach Eirik Bakke reveal that they will be unable to keep the in-demand player this summer because of offers from some top clubs.
Avram Grant for now clearly does not look like a fan of Otoo who could face competition from Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew, David Accam, Majeedd Warris, Ebenezer Assifuah and Kwasi Apiah.
Richmond Boakye Yiadom
Latina striker Richmond Boakye Yiadom had a poor campaign last season for the Serie B side as he managed only one goal in 17 appearances for his team who subsequently failed to reach the play-offs.
The 23-year-old who is a former Ghana youth striker will combat capable hands like Jordan Ayew, Atsu, Gyan and the rest which might just let the Stars coach stick to his usual front men.
The former WAFA young prodigy enjoyed some time under Grant due to his brilliance in the league which also got him scouted by Austrian club side, Red Bull Salzburg.
His time under the cameras in the Ghana league as a gem with WAFA put some kind of pressure on coach Grant to bow to the pressure of the local press to give a chance to the young player.
However, his moving on to Europe could be his undoing as the likes of Christian Atsu, Jordan Ayew, Frank Acheampong and Assifuah are likely to be ranked above him.
Abdul Majeed Waris
FC Lorient striker, Majeed Warris who was seen as a good player to replicate the prowess of Asamoah Gyan has not had it as expected of him and his immense contribution to the fortunes of the team has dwindled lately due to injury.
If he continues being bogged down by injury, he may lose his place in the team and miss the boat to Russia 2018 as well if Ghana qualifies.
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