Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ghana/Mauritius: Ghana Favoured Against Mauritius in Group H Opener



Ghana's Black Stars will be the overwhelming favourites as they begin their journey for qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 against Mauritius in Accra on Sunday.
The silver medalists at the last edition of the competition though will be without influential Andre Ayew through injury, the shape of the team remains strong and capable.
The Black Stars who welcome back captain Asamoah Gyan who missed their last two international matches against Mali and Senegal due to injuries, per their pedigree look set to bag all three points at the expense of the Islanders.
Playing at the national stadium in Accra for the first time in as many years, Ghana's quality that spans from defence to attack will be expected to give Mauritius plenty of work to do as long as coach Avram Grant is able to motivate his team to strike from all angles.
Ghana has yet to lose at home in as many years and with the likes of defender Baba Rahman repeatedly combining effectively with John Boye, Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah in defence, the visitors are first to admit that posting any manner of upset will require absolute handwork and discipline.
Housed in Group H alongside Rwanda and Mozambique, both teams undoubtedly are well aware of what the stakes are in the Accra meeting which could early define each's journey.
Ghana's impeccable record on the continent will come under a stern test for the visitors who are desperate to qualify for the tournament; Africa's plum gathering for the best 16 teams. The only participation of the Indian Ocean Island was at the 1974 edition in Egypt, where they bowed out at the group stage without a single win.
In midfield, the Black Stars are spoilt for choice in both personnel and quality, and while Grant will have a clear headache in choosing between Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Rabiu Mohammed, Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Astu and Afriyie Acquah, it is the ability of any pair to send ball supplies upfront where Gyan will be leading an army that could include Jordan Ayew that will make all the difference.
'Les Dodos' know they travel to Accra as underdogs, and that could end up becoming their advantage as long as they are able to play as though they have nothing to lose.
The visitors, chasing a second participation at the tournament will need to throw everything at their host through captain Jonathan Bru for a promised interesting encounter.

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