Nigeria’s preparation for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana got up to a busy start yesterday with nine of the invited 25 players already in the Super Eagles’ Wells Carlton Hotel camp, Abuja.
The early arrivals include Skipper Ahmed Musa, William Troost-Ekong, Frank Onyeka, Leon Balogun, Odion Ighalo, Ola Aina and Semi Ajayi. Also in camp are Daniel Akpeyi and Oghenekaro Etebo.
Reports from the Eagles’ camp indicate that more players were expected to be in camp later yesterday, while the remaining stars will come in today.
Spain-based Sadiq Umar is expected to arrive a little later as he is the arrowhead of his club, UD Almeria’s quest to gain promotion to La Liga. He will arrive after Almeria’s game against Tenerife yesterday.
Meanwhile, Ghana is expected to cap seven new players in the matches against Nigeria, hoping that the new legs will get them the World Cup ticket.
The Black Stars’ technical adviser, Chris Houghton, arrived in Ghana at the weekend to get acquainted with the team and its officials.
Some of the players expected to play against Nigeria started arriving in Accra on Saturday ready for today’s movement to Kumasi, venue of the first leg of the World Cup qualifier.
Although the coaches are still hiding the names of the players they expect to parade against Nigeria, reports are rife in Ghana that eight new players will come in to join the team that played at the Cameroun 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
Among them are midfielder, Usman Bukari of Nantes, who played for Ghana’s U-23 team in the past, Felix Afene Gyan of Roma, a striker, Mohammed Sanusi, a defender from Southampton, Dennis Korsah of Accra Hearts of Oaks, Jeffrey Schlopp of Leicester, former Dutch junior star, Leroy Owusu and Antwi Semenyo of Bristol City in the English Championship.
Number one goalkeeper and deputy captain, Richard Ofori of Orlando Pirates, who missed the Africa Nations Cup due to injury, is also coming back to the team.
Ghana will start training in Kumasi today ahead of the game on Thursday. To get massive support for the Black Stars, GFA President, Kurt ES Okraku, has called on the Ghana United Supporters Union to be the “12th player” on match day against Nigeria.
As part of his series of meetings with various stakeholders, Okraku met the leadership of the Supporters Union to seek their support as the Black Stars go into the crucial double-header against the Super Eagles.
“We have two important games against Nigeria. These are games we must win and we can win if we prepare well,” he said, while reiterating the role of supporters in achieving the all-important target of making its fourth appearance at the World Cup.
We must believe we can win. The entire country must be behind our black stars. We all know support is key to every football team. We must not relent in our quest to support the team if we all want to qualify to the World Cup.
“We must find the right levels of energy to support the team. We must take control of the atmosphere at the