As Ghana’s national Football team, the Black Stars brace up for Tuesday’s friendly against mighty England, there are lots to wait for as the African giant is poised to put a dent on the image of England, which already are featuring what would be thought to be a second team.
Second team because England already has withdrawn her key players, leaving behind Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Michael Dawson and many other key players.
According to a Ghanaian observer:” All we know is that Ghana is meeting England and it may not be possible as well that Ghana will feature all her full strength players. If we strive to beat England it is going to be on record”
Ghana’s former captain Stephen Appiah has already warned Fabio Capello’s decision to rest the senior England players claiming a defeat for England may put a big dent on his record, he said resting big England players is an act of disrespect to Ghana which will exploit the miscalculation to snatch victory.
“We want a record made that Ghana beat England on the English soil and the opportunity for that is very wide open now”, another observer said.
England manager Capello however defended resting the players, sending five key England men back to their clubs ahead of the Wembley sell-out.
John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Michael Dawson will not face Ghana, having started Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifying win over Wales.
But Appiah, 30, told BBC Sport: “It’s like they are underrating the game.”
The anticipated duel had made a record sale, as Ghana have sold a remarkable 21,000 tickets for their first ever match against England, the largest official away allocation Wembley has ever seen for an international.
The match sold out last January as the announcement was made.
Many who may think of purchasing their tickets at the gate today are warned not to come to the stadium, as the characteristic way of African getting ticket for matches are not in place after the tickets have been sold out.
It is 54 years since Ghana, then the Gold Coast, gained independence from the United Kingdom, becoming the first sub-Saharan country to do so.
Appiah, who currently plays for Cesena in Italy’s Serie A, won 69 caps for Ghana and captained the country at the 2006 World Cup.
He has also played for Fenerbahce, Juventus, Bologna and Udinese, and the three-time Ghana footballer of the year will be a special guest of the Ghanaian FA at Wembley.
Appiah said: “A lot of Ghanaians have travelled from America, Canada, from around the world. It’s a dream come true. It’s huge, it’s big and Ghanaians are going to follow the match.
“Ghanaians are disappointed. They really wanted to see those players. The players wish they could play against JT [John Terry].
“It’s their dream to play against Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and all these players. Maybe some of Ghana players will not play in that stadium again.”
When asked if he thought Capello’s decision was disrespectful, Appiah said: “I think so, yes. Some Ghanaians are really sad they are not going to play against England greats. Maybe Mr Capello has his own reasons, we have to respect those.”
Meanwhile, Mark Perryman, of LondonEnglandfans, said the Football Association should warn supporters if big names might be absent from games.
“There are going to be some who haven’t been to Wembley before and this is a big day out for them and their families maybe and they weren’t aware that these kinds of things went on,” he said.
“Why doesn’t the FA say at the beginning of a qualifying campaign ‘please be aware in all likelihood that certain players won’t be selected, at half-time seven or eight of the players are likely to be substituted, it’s an opportunity for the manager to look at some fresh faces’.
“The other thing I think they should do as a result is reduce the prices of the tickets for friendlies.”
The game will be the first time the African nation has ever met with the Three Lions and the Black Stars will be cheered on by an army of supporters in excess of 20,000 fans, the largest away following for any nation since the opening of the new Wembley.
Ghana boast a number of stars in their squad from the Premier League and Europe’s other top leagues, and after their performance at the World Cup last summer, the match should be a tough test for Fabio Capello’s squad.
No further tickets will be made available for the game now and there will not be any tickets for sale on match day, so we urge supporters not to travel unless they have a ticket for the match
Ghana, ‘the Black Stars’, match will be England’s 84th different opponent in history.
The countries may not have met at senior level before but there have been matches at other levels in recent years. Ghana beat us 4-0 in the FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt two years ago and England won an U18 friendly 2-0 at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in 2007.
Ghana will be England’s eighth African opponent, following in the footsteps of Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Only three of those – Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt – have played at Wembley.
England’s first opponent, of course, was Scotland back in 1872. We have now met 110 times, most recently in 1999.
The most unusual opponent, arguably, was Bohemia in 1908. It was a kingdom within the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time and all their players against England were members of the ‘Slavia’ club in Prague.
England’s 83rd new opponent was Montenegro, who came to Wembley for a EURO 2012 Qualifier last October.
Yugoslavia, Serbia & Montenegro and Montenegro are classed as different opponents. As are Ireland-Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland, Czechoslovakia-Czech Republic, Germany-West Germany-East Germany and USSR-CIS-Russia.