Embattled Ghana Black Stars host troubled Amavubi, Rwanda.
The two sides are set to lock horns on Saturday despite various issues surrounding both teams
Amid controversy, Ghana take on Rwanda in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday.
The game, to be held at the Accra Sports Stadium, is an absolute dead rubber in every sense of the term, with the fates of both sides long determined in June.
Seven points clear at the top of Group H following a 2-0 win over Mauritius, the Black Stars are through to the final tournament, while the Amavubi had their hopes dashed following successive defeats in the last two matches.
Ghana team is faced with tensions from a difference in opinion between the football association and the sports ministry.
While the ministry insists on parading an all locally-based squad for Saturday’s game, in order to cut cost associated with flying down foreign-based players, the football body has been adamant.
Coach Avram Grant’s initial 23-man squad paradoxically consisted of just two home-based players – goalkeeper Richard Ofori and defender Kadri Mohammed. Although three more locals have been added.
With the FA’s insistence, foreign-based players have been left to fund their own travels, the ministry having refused to bear the cost, while the team’s winning bonus for the encounter has been drastically slashed to $2,500.
“We don’t care about the bonus,” midfielder Mubarak Wakaso told the press after a training session. “The game is very important for us, and all we need is for Ghanaians to support the team to victory. We’re all very focused and determined to do the job.”
Grant will, however, do without the injured pair of Andre Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp, while captain Asamoah Gyan, although in camp, will sit out the encounter for reasons of fatigue after a series of travels in sorting out his club future.
Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew will also be missing, while question marks remain over Christian Atsu, who joined training on Thursday after sealing a late loan move to Newcastle United.
Rwanda held their own for the most part in the 1-0 defeat in Kigali, only succumbing by a Wakaso free-kick three minutes to full time.
That should give the Amavubi some boost, but they have had troubles of their own too.
Head coach Johnny McKinstry was sacked just two weeks to the encounter. Gilbert Yaounde Kanyankole, appointed on an interim role, named a 26-man squad, but would sensationally be replaced by Jimmy Mulisa few days later.
The Amavubi have also been faced with flight challenges, the kind which necessitates that the team arrive in Accra on Friday afternoon, about 24 hours to kick-off.
Even in the face of adversity, Mulisa has urged his charges to go for broke, saying: “Our main objective is to win the match because we need to improve our position on the Fifa Ranking,” he told CafOnline.com,
“And the match is also important for the pride of our country. This is the game that can change their lives in football.”
Tanzania-based duo of Mugiraneza Jean Baptista and skipper HarunaNiyonzima, as well as striker Jacques Tuyisenge of Kenyan side GorMahia, are the only foreign-based players in Mulisa’s squad.