Asamoah Gyan, Black Stars captain Zambian scouts are said to have flown into town to spy on the Black Stars even before the Ghanaian squad assembles for final preparations for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against the Chipolopolo in Kumasi.
The ‘secret invasion’ has compelled Coach Kwasi Appiah into deep planning, including scheduling a behind-closed-doors training in Accra tomorrow afternoon to rehearse his strategy for the all important match.
The full complement of the Black Stars are expected in town tonight when the final batch to arrive is expected to include returning midfielder Michael Essien of Chelsea.
As of press time yesterday, striker Asamoah Gyan, midfielder Wakaso Mubarak and striker Mahatma Otoo were in town, while the likes of Kwadwo Asamoah, Chelsea’s new signing Christian Atsu, goalkeeper Razak Braimah of Guadalajara in Spain, and defenders John Boye and Jonathan Mensah were scheduled to arrive later yesterday.
The remainder, including Schalke’s Kevin-Prince Boateng — who transferred surprisingly from AC Milan last week — and Olympique Marseille’s Andre Dede Ayew, are expected to arrive latest by tonight.
But even before the squad begins training at the Accra Stadium at 3:30 p.m. today, the Zambian spies have given indication of a tough time on hand for Coach Kwasi Appiah.
Zambia’s coach, Herve Renard, was once an assistant with the Black Stars, and even fumed over attempts to describe him as a fitness coach during the stint of his fellow Frenchman, Claude le Roy, in Ghana.
His team, unlikely African champions in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012, 19 years after the air disaster that claimed the entire squad travelling for a game, has seen an early advantage in the group vanish following a home draw with The Sudan and another draw away to whipping boys Lesotho.
Ghana leads Africa’s qualifying Group D on 12 points, with Zambia a point adrift in second place. The clash in Kumasi is a decider for which the two will reach the final play-offs for Brazil 2014.
Anything other than victory will see Renard and his charges continue their free slide that started with an appalling outing in South Africa this year when they went to defend the Nations Cup trophy.