Destiny hour for ’Milo’ as Stars, Bafana battle for World Cup slot

Published on: 09 November 2021

Ghana could be on the cusp of a fourth Mundial appearance should they win their last two crucial Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia this week.

The Black Stars will tackle a doubleheader against the Walias of Ethiopia at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday and crown it all with a crucial Group G decider with South Africa at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday.

Currently, on nine points, the Black Stars trail Group G leaders, South Africa, by just a point and a slip against Ethiopia at their adopted home grounds in South Africa could be disastrous to their World Cup ambition.

Indeed, this game is a destiny-defining moment for Coach Milovan Rajevac and his men who need a victory at all cost to maintain their pursuit for a slot at the world’s biggest football gathering in Qatar next year.

The last time the two teams met at the Cape Coast Stadium, it was Mubarak Wakaso’s ‘lucky’ goal that separated the two teams after a poor game by the Stars. However, the change in the technical direction of the team has been a blessing for the Ghanaians who beat the Warriors of Zimbabwe back-to-back last month.

That perhaps explains why Coach Milovan Rajevac has recalled Wakaso to the team after he missed out of the last two qualifiers. He joins other top stars such as skipper Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Kamaldeen Suleman, Kudus Mohammed, and Baba Idrissu, among others, for the task ahead.

The Serbian gaffer has introduced some dynamism into the team such that not even playing in enemy territory against the Ethiopians would intimidate them as they need an away win badly.

Until Coach Rajevac took over the Black Stars, they had scored just a single goal in their World Cup campaign, but he has since transformed the Ghanaian team into a formidable side that has scored four goals in their last two games.

Even though the Ethiopians are out of contention for qualification as they are third on the table with three points, they will be out to play for pride and also better their record of one win in five matches against the Black Stars.

Should the Black Stars secure a favourable result against the Ethiopians, then the icing will be put on the cake on Sunday when they encounter Bafana Bafana at their favourite Cape Coast Stadium.

However, Coach Hugo Broos, who was appointed purposely to secure qualification for the South Africans, is also leaving no stone unturned, having invited a blend of local and foreign-based stars to hold the Black Stars.

With experienced foreign-based players such as Al Ahly’s Percy Tau, Siyanda Xulu of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Sphelele Sithole of Belenenses, alongside local stars such as Rushine De Reuck, Thabani Zuke and Mduduzi Mdantsane, Coach Broos can only hope for at least a draw to top the group, while the Black Stars need a vital home win at all cost to pull through to the playoff.

Source: Graphic Sports