The Black Starlets left Mumbai yesterday morning ahead of tomorrow’s crucial quarter-final clash with Mali in Guwaharti, with a strong message from Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin that the Ghanaians are ready for their West African opponents.
Domestic flights are said to be fully booked, following the celebration of the Diwali festival, an important festive season on the calendar of the Indians, but the team’s internal travels were not affected, based on the special arrangements put in place by FIFA.
The Starlets coach said he was prepared for any opponent who would cross their path at this stage.
“Every team is a threat so far as they are in the competition and we are ready for them,” Coach Fabin stated.
The Ghanaian team left Mumbai in the early hours of yesterday morning, to allow them enough time to rest and train, after the five-hour flight to a city which is said to share a border with Nepal and also thought to be much colder than the hot temperature in Mumbai.
Ghana would be aiming to break the jinx that ensured a 0-1 defeat to the Malians in the final of the African Cup of Nations in Gabon and another 1-2 defeat in Abu Dhabi in a warm-up game ahead of the World Cup.
Based on the previous outings, the Eagles would certainly come into the game as favourites and, with their 5-1 mauling of the Iraqi team at the round-of-16 stage, it must be a major source of concern for Coach Fabin, who admitted he had to do more work on his team’s poor conversion rate.
Tomorrow, the battle would not only be reduced to tactical acumen but also a battle between two prolific skippers, Ghana’s Eric Ayiah, who missed the opportunity of scoring a brace against Niger, and Fode Konatey, who hit a brace against the Iraqis.
Certainly, Ayiah would again be enjoying the support of nimble-footed midfielder, Emmanuel Toku, Sulley Ibrahim and Gabriel Leveh, to deliver the killer punch needed to knock out the Malians.
Also expected to return into the Starlets fold is the influential Sadiq Mohammed, who had finished serving his one-match suspension from accumulating yellow cards and centre back, Razak Alhassan, who got injured against the USA in the second group match.