Black Stars’ World Cup semi-final dream; an achievable berth

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Black Stars
Black Stars

Ghanaians have felt joy and pain in their participation in the world’s biggest football and looking forward to another rollercoaster moment of thrills and chills as the World Cup in Qatar approaches.

The watershed moment was when Asamoah Gyan’s last-gasp penalty struck the bar in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup, leaving Ghanaians in despair and anguish.

The current talented generation of Black Stars players would have the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of Ghanaians, especially having missed out on the last World Cup in Russia and also after a disastrous outing in Brazil eight years ago.

Football is the passion of the nation, and it is one factor that unites Ghanaians. Having first tasted the World Cup in 2006, the impact of football in both social and economic terms cannot be downplayed.

The 2022 World Cup provides the Black Stars with an opportunity to achieve pre-eminence in world football, considering their falling stature as football heavyweights on the African continent, and a chance of redemption and revenge against familiar foes.

Along with South Korea, the Black Stars of Ghana find themselves in a very tough group that also features Uruguay and Portugal, two sides they have lost to in past World Cup tournaments.

After naming a 55-man squad for Qatar, Coach Otto Addo would be under pressure to name his 26-player squad ahead of the November 13, deadline and Ghana’s first game against Portugal on November 24.

Regardless of the final squad that makes it to Qatar, Ghana would field the best of its footballing talents, especially with its strength in the midfield, which has players like Thomas Partey, Mohammed Kudus, Iddrisu Baba, and Fatawu Issahaku, among others.

Daniel Amartey’s experience in defence coupled with the agility and strength of Mohammed Salisu, would make the Black Stars’ backline a solid rock, while Inaki Williams, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, and Afena Gyan are expected to bang in the goals.

Sharing his perspective with Ghana News Agency about the chances of the Black Stars in Qatar, former Ghana international Laryea Kingston opined that Ghanaian football fans might not be too confident about a promising outing in Qatar, considering the recent run of results.

“I am however very optimistic about a good outing at the World Cup. We have a solid technical team because they work in an elite environment, so they know what is at stake.

“Most of the technical team members have been to the World Cup, so they know what is at stake. I know Ghanaians are not too confident, but they should think back at what happened in the 2006 World Cup. We were out during the group stages at the 2006 AFCON, but when we went to the World Cup, we saw what Ghana did. “So, for me, I think we will go there and do well,” he said.

The former Hearts midfielder added that despite the recent poor run of results, the performance of the Black Stars has been improving steadily, especially with their second-half display against Brazil in the last month’s friendly.

Ghanaian football legend and three-time goal king in the local league, Dan Owusu, expressed delight about Ghana’s fourth qualification to the World Cup but was worried about the team’s cohesion with barely a month to the tournament.

“For me, I am delighted we qualified for the World Cup,” he said. “I believe the unity among Ghanaians would help propel the team to greater heights at the World Cup. My little concern is about team cohesion, considering that most of these players have not played together for long,” he added in an interview.

He urged the technical team to field the country’s best in the pre-World Cup friendly against Switzerland, as it would demonstrate how far we would go in the tournament.

In an interview on the sidelines of the “Walk with the Legends” initiative, former Fulham defender John Painstil, who was a member of Black Stars’quarter-final team at the 2010 World Cup, expressed his optimism about a successful outing and believes this current crop of players can go as far as the semi-final and possibly the final.

“As an experienced ex-international, I will urge the players to take one game at a time. Despite having some history with Uruguay, we have two other teams to play in the group, so I think we should take it game by game.

“Black Stars can go far, we have been there several times and we have the experience. We deserve to get to the semi-final or final. I believe coming together to support and believe in the boys can motivate them,” he stated.

With a fortnight to the commencement of the world’s biggest football showpiece, Ghanaian football fans would be beaming with smiles as they relish another spectacle of joy and a respite from their financial troubles and economic uncertainties.

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