2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Africa Playoffs, First Leg
Ghana vs Nigeria
Friday, 25th March 2022
Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi
Kickoff- 10:30PM (EAT)
The West African derby between Ghana and Nigeria will highlight the playoffs to determine the teams that will represent Africa at this year’s FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
The two African Giants will face off this Friday with the Black Stars hosting the first leg at Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi before the return leg in Abuja on Tuesday next week.
This is one of the five fixtures lined up with ten African teams facing off to determine the five that will qualify for the biggest football extravaganza.
Both Ghana and Nigeria meet almost in similar situation given their disappointing performance at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon two months ago.
Whereas Nigeria had a brilliant start only to disappointingly get eliminated at the round of 16 by Tunisia, Ghana on the other hand couldn’t get past the group stages, finishing bottom I group C with just a point.
The target is therefore to use World Cup qualification as redemption and a springboard for improvement in the coming engagements.
Since the end of AFCON, both teams have had changes in the dugout and in the playing unit as well.
Ghana overhauled their technical staff by sacking Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac. He has been replaced by Ex Black Stars player Otto Addo, one of the second team coaches at German side Borussia Dortmund and he will be aided by former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton as the technical advisor for the two matches.
On the hand, the Super Eagles bolsted their technical team by adding Emmanuel Amunike to join coach Augustine Eguavoen.
Ghana will be without influential skipper Andre Dede Ayew who is suspended for the first leg after picking up a red card at AFCON in the game against Comoros.
Winger Kamaldeen Sulemana who plies his trade at Rennes in France is absent from the squad because of injury.
However, Ajax Amsterdam playmaker Mohammed Kudus and Germany-based Kwesi Wriedt return while AS Roma youngster Felix Afena-Gyan has been called to the team for the first time.
Nigeria, on the other hand, have combative midfielder Wilfred Ndi and goalkeeper ruled out due to injuries.
However, the Super Eagles will be boosted by the return of forwards Victor Osimhen of Napoli and Odion Ighalo who both AFCON.
Leicester City’s Ademola Lookman who recently switched nationality will be a big addition to the attacking options that also includes teammate Kelechi Iheanacho.
The other fixtures include:
DR Congo vs Morocco
Egypt vs Senegal
Cameroon vs Algeria
Mali vs Tunisia