NAIROBI: Like a Leopard that lays siege at the prey’s neighbourhood at sunrise, Ghana’s national football team yesterday finalised a four-day training camp in Nairobi in readiness for an affront against Uganda Cranes tomorrow.
The two teams will face off in a win-or-bust assignment at Namboole that could determine which side among them, or group E table-toppers Egypt, will play at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Clearly playing catch-up here as far as the standings are concerned, third-placed Black Stars squad initially consisting 16 players and a technical team led by coach Kwesi Appiah jetted in Kenya’s capital on Monday evening.
The squad had, however, increased to 21 players including 19 foreigners by the time the Black Stars held their sixth and final training session at the 60,000 seater Kasarani Stadium yesterday morning.
“We came here specifically to acclimatize so that no team enjoys any geographical advantage on Sunday,” Keshi explained to journalists after Wednesday’s session.
He added: “It is a crucial game.We will have to be extremely careful against a strong side that almost never loses at home.”
Still, four of the players in Ghana’s team to face second placed Uganda, including Hearts of Oak defender Vincent Atinga were part of the local based squad that recently won the regional West African Football Union (WAFU) regional Cup of Nations courtesy of an overwhelming 4-1 win over Nigeria last month.
Of immediate concern to Cranes coaches Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba however, is that the West Africans dedicated almost an hour of Wednesday’s session to specifically practise a variety of set-piece drills.
Kwesi also seemed all too keen to downplay Uganda’s recent impressive run, and specifically the win over Egypt in Kampala last month simply stating; “we don’t fear them.”
Forward Richmond Boakye-Yiadon is also bubbling with confident ahead of this fixture.
“We always want to win,” the Serbia based forward declared. We always want to appear on the big stage, so I believe against Uganda we’re going there for victory.”
Uganda defeated Ghana by a solitary goal the last time the two teams met in Kampala two years ago. These two sides also drew in Kumasi in the first leg tie of this competition played in Tamale last October. Only one team from this pool that also has the Republic of Congo will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.