Ghana Football Association has finally released its official 23-man squad to play against Nigeria over two legs for the 2022 World Cup ticket.
The aggregate winner will secure the ticket for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The first leg of the qualifiers is to take place at the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday 25th by 19:30 GMT (20:30 Nigerian time).
While the return leg is scheduled to take place at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday 29th by 5pm Nigerian time.
In an attempt to confuse Nigeria, Ghana decided to delay the announcement of their squad so they can frustrate Super Eagles’ preparation.
“Strategically, we must keep our opponents confused and they are confused and the time that they will need to regroup and organise themselves to know what our strengths are will be limited,” Ghana Football Association Executive Committee member Samuel Anim Addo told Citi TV.
“The players who have been selected know they are traveling and are already preparing for the game.
“The most important thing is that you will get Ghanaians who are going to die for the country.”
There are no surprises on the list that the Super Eagles technical crew can’t sort out before the first game on Friday.
But with injuries to Wilfred Ndidi, Ghana’s selections suggested a few things that SportsRation will try to address in this article.
1. They want to hurt Nigeria in the midfield
Wilfred Ndidi is one of the best tacklers in world football, he is the highest value African midfielder, and week-in, week-out we all marvel at his contribution to Leicester City’s success.
He would be missing out in both games denying us the opportunity to see the battle between him and Arsenal’s Thomas Partey.
Wilfred Ndidi would be missed but Nigeria should have a player who can offer close to what the Leicester City man brings to the team in Innocent Bonke or Frank Onyeka.
Ghana have listed just six midfielders in their squad they are Iddrisu Baba, Edmund Addo, Mohammed Kudus, Thomas Partey, Elisha Owusu, and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh.
All six players except for Daniel-Kofi Kyereh who is an attacking midfielder for German Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli.
They are strong, good tacklers, and have experience playing in big games.
Edmund Addo, 21, plays for Sheriff Tiraspol, remember the little know team that beat Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu in a Champions League game this season?
The Ghanaian midfielder was part of the team, he played 90 minutes on the day. Good tackler of the ball, good passer, and one not afraid to make an adventure.
Iddrisu Baba, 26, plays for Real Mallorca, he is an important member of the Spanish La Liga side. He is a very good ball-winning midfielder.
Iddrisu Baba fights for everything can be a little bit indisciplined but he knows how to make life uncomfortable for any opposition.
Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, 26, plays for St. Pauli in Bundesliga 2, club teammate with one-time Super Eagles invitee Afeez Aremu.
He can offer them the attacking threat. He has scored 10 goals and assisted 9 goals in 24 games for Bundesliga chasing St. Pauli.
In fact, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh came into the camp full of confidence after scoring the only goal for St. Pauli’s 1-0 win over the weekend.
Mohammed Kudus and Elisha Owusu are fringe players for their clubs but could be useful for coach Addo.
2. They will be defensive and hit Nigeria on counter
Expect Black Stars to be defensive and not give in too much space. The team lacks the all-around quality to disturb Nigeria if they go one-on-one with the Eagles.
Hence, they will try to focus on the midfield where they think they have the better players, contain Nigeria, and hope that Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Roma’s Afena Gyan, Jordan Ayew complete the job on the counterattack.
3. And will play 4-5-1, 4-4-2 (diamond) or 4-3-3
The team easily picks itself. They will most likely play any of the above formations.
If they go 4-4-2 diamond expect Daniel-Kofi Kyereh to play behind the strikers which will likely be Jordan Ayew (if free from Covid-19) and Afena Gyan.
Iddrisu Baba to play in front of the defenders while Thomas Partey and Edmund Addo play as wide midfielders with Arsenal man running box-to-box.
If they go 4-5-1, Thomas Partey, Edmund Addo, and Iddrisu Baba will be flanked by Daniel-Kofi Kyereh and Jordan Ayew with Afena Gyan playing as a lone striker.
Ghana’s regular tactic is the 4-3-3 formation, I doubt they will try this against the Super Eagles because they don’t have the personnel to try this against Nigeria.
NOTE: They have Dennis Odoi, ‘the Messi stopper’, he fares very well against skillful players. Currently plays for Club Brugge in Belgium but used to play for Fulham.
He will be tasked with stopping Moses Simon, coach Eguavoen, and Amuneke must work very well on different scenarios to avoid the Tunisia incident repeating itself.
There is really no need to panic ahead of the games but we can’t be overconfident.