For decades, Nigeria and Ghana have been at odds. The rivalry spans everything from which country cooks the best cuisines of jollof rice, who has the hottest women to who has the best football team. Expectations are high as both countries prepare to clash in two-legged playoffs for a spot in Qatar 2022, with the first match taking place in Ghana on March 25, 2022, and the second three days later in Nigeria.
Ghana will be hoping to qualify for their fourth World Cup and first since 2014. The Super Eagles are attempting to qualify for their seventh World Cup.
Ghana’s new coaching staff has a lot riding on them. Following their early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, Ghana promptly selected former Borussia Dortmund defender Otto Addo as its new coach and former Brighton manager Chris Hughton as their technical advisor. Along with former Dutch international George Boateng and Didi Dramani, the trio is expected to lead the Black Stars past the Super Eagles.
A few days after the AFCON, the Nigeria Football Federation officially announced a change in its technical team, naming Augustine Eguavoen, Emmanuel Amuneke, Salisu Yussuf, Alloy Agu, and Joseph Yobo as the members to lead the Super Eagles through the World Cup playoff. Failure to qualify would very certainly signal the end of one technical team’s journey.
After weeks of speculation, Otto Addo finally picked his 27-man roster for the Super Eagles playoff match. After receiving a straight red in the AFCON finals, captain Andre Ayew has been left out. Dennis Korsah, Denis Odoi, and Elisha Owusu are three debutants among the 27 players invited. The group also includes Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew, Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, and Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey.
Ighalo and Osimhen, Welcome Back! After missing out on the final AFCON team in January 2022, the Super Eagles have brought back two of Africa’s top finishers in Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo, who will face the Black Stars. After his Saudi Arabian club Al Shabab declined to allow him compete, Ighalo was dropped off the AFCON 2021 roster list. Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen had asked to be withdrawn from the AFCON squad because he would not have been able to give his best.
After great performances for their respective clubs, Nigerians are thrilled to see both players back for the Super Eagles against the Ghanaian Black Stars.
The Super Eagles’ midfield juggernaut, Wilfred Ndidi, would be sorely missed in the crucial matches. On Thursday, March 17th, 2022, the midfielder was injured in Leicester City’s Europa Conference League match against Rennes. Lorient midfielder , Innocent Bonke has already taken Ndidi’s place.
Bonke is a good player, but Ndidi’s absence will be noticed a lot, and the Black Stars will aim to take advantage of it.
Bonke, 26, signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with FC Loriente from Malmo FF in Sweden in January 2022. On September 7, 2021, the Kaduna native made his international debut against Cape Verde in a 2-1 World Cup qualifier.
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