There is a lot at stake for eternal rivals and close neighbours, Ghana and Nigeria, who will clash in the first leg of their World Cup playoffs tie at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi. What we will experience today will be beyond football.
Having both been booted out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations- Ghana in the group stage and Nigeria in the Round of 16- the two similar yet distinctively different nations will be hoping to find some sort of redemption by picking up a ticket to Qatar 2022. The last time both teams met was in 2014 where the Black Stars claimed victory in a 4-1 penalty shootout. Between the powerhouses lies 56 meetings with Otto Addo’s men winning 25 of those encounters, drawing 19 and losing 12 to the Super Eagles.
Running a comparison between the two squads, it is clear that the star-studded Eagles are in a much better form than their distant sibling. Be that as it may, the host are not without high-performers too. They have in their squad some in-form players, the likes of Thomas Partey and Alexandre Djiku, who will do all that is in their power to pick up a commanding advantage ahead of the return leg in Abuja, Nigeria.
It is important to note that the Black Stars have never lost in the ground scheduled for this duel. This, together with other reasons earlier mentioned, puts more pressure on Ghana and Nigeria to fight to keep the record stainless or make a mess of it, respectively.
Only one country will be handed the ticket to Qatar 2022. Who will it be?