The post Avram Grant era takes off tomorrow as Ghana will welcome Ethiopia in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
Kick-off is at 15h30 CAT.
The Black Stars have won the AFCON title four times (in 1963, 1965, 1978 as well as 1982). They finished fourth at the 2017 finals.
Ghana faced Benin in an international friendly last month. The two West African sides played to a 1-1 stalemate at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium.Prior to the clash with Ethiopia, the Black Stars have been at a training camp in Kumasi.
After the 2014 World Cup which saw Ghana make the headlines for all the bad reasons, the players lost the support and confidence of their most trusted fans in Ghana, especially Kumasi. The Baba Yara Stadium has been the Stars’ main venue for quiet sometime now and the fans have played key roles in Ghana’s qualification for the last three editions of the FIFA World Cup.
Ghana head coach Appiah has urged fans to come in numbers on Saturday and he also discussed the Black Stars’ squad depth.
“I am on my knees pleading to all Ghanaians to rally support behind the Black Stars as we play Ethiopia on Sunday at the Kumasi Baba Yara Sports Stadium,” Appiah said.
“We have lot of talents in the country and I want to do my best by making good use of them and create competition in the team.
“All we want is the best for Ghana.”
The Black Stars will once again look to their star players, Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew, who also serve as the captain and vice-captain respectively.
On Sunday, when Kwesi Appiah parades his first starting XI in his second coming as Ghana coach against Ethiopia, he’ll surely be expecting—and hoping—to share the spotlight with captain Asamoah Gyan.
The 31-year-old has been a near-ever-present in the Black Stars setup since he made his debut against Somalia in a World Cup qualifier in 2003, as he first served a warning of his quality.
Andre Ayew is one of the Black Stars’ star players. The midfielder, who is also the vice-captain, will be keen to help his nation beat Ethiopia in a Group F game.
Other new players have been given the chance to come into the team to compete for places with the old guards like Dede, Jordan, Harrison, Boye and Jonathan Mensah.
Thomas Agyepong,Kingsley Sarfo, Lumor Agbenyenu and Isaac Sackey have worked enough to demand a place in the first eleven and that will give Coach Akwasi Appiah selection headache.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia have won the AFCON title once (in 1962). They failed to qualify for the last two tournaments and they could not reach the knockout stages in 2013.
Walia Ibex defeated Seychelles in their last match last September. Ethiopia emerged 2-1 winners in the 2017 AFCON qualifier at the Hawassa Stadium.
Getaneh Kebede, who scored for Ethiopia against Seychelles, will look to hit the back of the net again and help the Walia Ibex stun Ghana in a Group F game.
Sierra Leone and Kenya are also part of Group F, and the two sides are scheduled to lock horns at the National Stadium in Freetown on Saturday.