The local Black Stars face a tough challenge today when they engage Cote d’Ivoire in the second leg of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier away at the Stade Robert Champroux in Abidjan.
The home side will be full of confidence heading into the tie, especially after the Ivorian authorities announced free entry for fans at the stadium, as well as a $2000-per-player bonus for members of the local Elephants if they are able to seal qualification.
Regardless of that, the home-based Black Stars coach, Maxwell Konadu insists that his 18-man squad will be able to get a favourable result which will ensure progression to the fourth African Nations Championship slated for early next year in Rwanda.
The Stars, losing finalists at the 2009 and 2014 CHAN, head into the return match against the much-fancied Ivorians with a narrow lead, having claimed an unconvincing 2-1 win in the first leg on October 18 at the Baba Yara Stadium.
Coach Konadu’s side required a brace from Asokwa Deportivo star, Joel Fameyeh, to pick up a win against the stubborn Ivorians who led through Ibrahim Sangare in the opening stages of that match. Fameyeh’s stunning display saw him equalise on the stroke of half-time before snatching victory with a stoppage-time winner.
The game takes place on a tricky astro-turf surface which has been the bane of many Ghanaian players in many international competitions and in preparation, the team spent a couple of days training on a similar turf at the West Africa Football Academy stadium at Sogakope.
Konadu also cut two big names — 2014 FIFA World Cup goalie, Fatau Dauda and local league topscorer, Kofi Owusu — from his travelling party for the tie.