Ghana’s Black Stars would hope to redeem their battered image when they play Nicaragua in their second international friendly in Artes Carrasco in Lorca, Spain, at 6p.m.
The Stars were exposed by Brazil in their 0-3 loss in France last Friday, but could use this game to restore their dented image and offer Coach Otto Addo a fair idea of his team for the World Cup in Qatar later in the year.
Coach Addo admitted his mistakes in the Brazil defeat and would seek to make amends in this game, with some of the old guards expected to start from the bench in today’s game.
Mohammed Salisu, Inaki Williams and Tariq Lamptey who impressed in their debut game for the Black Stars when they came on as substitutes could be handed starting roles in tonight’s game.
Clearly, Nicaragua is not among the heavyweights of world football and the significant difference between them and the Black Stars in the latest FIFA rankings makes this game a David and Goliath affair. Ghana is currently ranked 60th, while Nicaragua is languishing in the 139th position.
That notwithstanding, any act of complacency could cost Coach Addo and his charges dearly as the Central American side, which have never made it to the FIFA World Cup, would be aiming to cut a slice of history against four-time candidates, Ghana.
Historically, the Central Americans will be playing their first ever game against the Black Stars and, even though they do not boast of players who feature in top European leagues like their Ghanaian counterparts, they could rely on the telepathy of their local-based squad to frustrate Ghana.
Except for the Kirin Cup which Ghana won 3-1 on penalties against Chile after a barren draw, the Black Stars have not won in their last three international games, including losing heavily to Japan (1-4) in the same competition.The Stars also drew 1-1 with Central African Republic in the AFCON qualifiers in June, before falling to Brazil.
That record is contrary to that of Nicaragua, who have won a number of their CONCACAF Nations League games, beating Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamas, boosting their confidence for this game.
In contrast, Ghana’s poor showing in recent games makes today’s game a must-win to motivate them ahead of their last pre-World Cup test against Switzerland next month.
By all indications, Coach Otto Addo is expected to parade a more winsome side this time round following what transpired in the second half of the game against Brazil where the Stars did not concede.