Thursday, April 18, 2024

International Friendly – Ghana Black Stars Face Super Eagles Of Nigeria In Morocco 

The two eternal rivals trade tackles with each other in their first games since enjoying differing fortunes at the 2024 AFCON

Nigeria’s men’s national team will lock horns with their Ghanaian counterpart in the bustling Moroccan city of Marrakech on Friday in the latest superiority battle between the two West African powerhouses.

This is the first match both teams will play after their campaigns at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ghana went to that tournament as one of the teams with an outside chance of lifting the trophy, but the Black Stars left disappointed.

The Ghanaians scored more goals than all but five of the countries at the AFCON but failed to win a game or make it out of a Group B which had Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Egypt.

The Ghana FA wasted little time in dismissing head coach Chris Hughton after that debacle.

Nigeria, by contrast, were unbeaten during the group stage and edged past Cameroon, Angola and South Africa in the knockout rounds to reach the final, where they lost narrowly to the host nation.As the vice-champion of Africa, the Super Eagles will be expected to overcome the Black Stars in Morocco on Friday.

However, Ghana hold the historical advantage over their eternal rivals and this match will be far from being a walk in the park for Nigeria.

Head-to-head

Despite boasting seven times more population than Ghana, Nigeria have always found the former Gold Coast a difficult customer to dominate in sports, especially football.

Ghana, in fact, have enjoyed arguably more success in football than Nigeria.

The Black Stars have won the Africa Cup of Nations four times, one more than the Super Eagles.

Ghana have been to the FIFA World Cup on four occasions, reaching the quarterfinals in 2010. By contrast, Nigeria have never made it past the second round at the Mundial.

In direct meetings, Ghana also hold the advantage, beating Nigeria 22 times and losing only 11 of 53 games since their first meeting in 1950.

No other nation has beaten Nigeria more times than Ghana and the 78 goals the Eagles have conceded against the Black Stars is the highest of any opposition they have ever faced.

The last time these two teams met, Ghana celebrated after making it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the expense of the Nigerians.

Team news

Ghana and Nigeria arrive for this encounter with new coaches in charge.

The Black Stars will be handled by former international Otto Addo, who left his role at Borussia Dortmund to take up the head coach position.

Nigeria also said goodbye to coach Jose Peseiro, who led the Eagles to a silver-medal finish at the AFCON early this month.

The Nigeria Football Federation has engaged former AFC Ajax and Real Betis winger Geroge Finidi on an interim basis.

Finidi was an assistant to Peseiro, and he is also one of those who have applied for the head coach job. Hence, this match could be his chance to impress fans and stakeholders that he is ready to be the Super Eagles head coach.

As if the pressure on him is not cranked up enough, Finidi faces Ghana without the full complement of the squad that excelled at the AFCON.

Star forward Victor Osimhen, captains Ahmed Musa and William Troost-Ekong, and fullback Ola Aina are unavailable due to injury.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Gabriel Osho, and Tyronne Ebuehi, who were in the 26-man squad the NFF invited for this game, have also pulled out.

While Nigeria rue their misses, Ghana have key players unavailable as well.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, goalkeeper Richard Ofori, and West Ham forward Mohammad Kudus will not be up for selection against Nigeria.

Coach Addo can, however, count on the talents of Mohammed Salisu, Andrey and Jordan Ayew, and youngster Fatawi Issahaku.

Without goalkeeper Ofori, FC St. Gallen ace Lawrence Ati-Zigi should step in for the Black Stars.

Nigeria Predicted lineup (4-4-2): 
Nwabali; Awaziem, Ajayi, Bassey, Onyemaechi; Chukwueze, Ndidi, Onyeka, Iwobi; Lookman, Iheanacho.

Ghana predicted lineup (4-4-2):
Ati-Zigi; Lamptey, Djiku, Salisu, Mensah; Samed, Majeed, Jordan Ayew, Issahaku; Andre Ayew, Semenyo

Match details

Competition: Friendly
Match: Nigeria vs. Ghana
Venue: Stade de Marrakech, Morocco
Date: Friday, 22 March 2024
Kickoff time: 5 pm (Nigerian time)

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