For 15 long years, the Black Stars have been chasing the shadows of the Super Eagles of Nigeria and if revenge was any motivation, 2006 provided one for tonight’s encounter in Brentford, England.
The Black Stars come face to face in a friendly encounter with the Super Eagles of Nigeria, who appear to have established an uncomfortable stranglehold on the attritious campaign for supremacy between the two nations.
And the Black Stars must count the 2006 Nations Cup loss to the Super Eagles enough motivation.
Here was an assembly of what was hopefully Ghana’s best collection of youthful Stars over a period, tipped as one of the favourites to win the CAF 2006 Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
Lined up against an ageing Super Eagles side whose only hope to the diadem was their huge past tag as an African soccer giant, the Black Stars crumbled rather badly courtesy a moment of defensive lapse after conceding a foul some 30 meters from goal.
The Stars had indeed impressed so well in that clash and always seemed the likely side to score, only to end up the vanquished side to continue the rather harrowing chase to conquer the Super Eagles since 1992 when the Black Stars dumped them 2:1 in Senegal.
Indeed the Port Said loss to the Super Eagles on January 23, 2006 remains fresh and on the minds of every supporter of the Black Stars, especially in the manner the only goal by Taiwo came.
It has done a lot to blot resounding victories the Stars have in the past chalked over the Eagles, either as Green Eagles or Super Eagles, including the very first encounter between the two sides on May 28, 1955, won 1:0 by Ghana and the famous 7:0 walloping on June 1, 1955. Nigeria’s first win over Ghana was a 3:0 thrashing on October 27, 1956.
Since then the fight for supremacy had been a cat and mouse affair until the Super Eagles imposed their will on the Stars after the ’92 loss.
Apart from barren draws in ’94, ’99 and 2001, the Super Eagles have won the last five encounters; 3:0 in Port Harcourt on July 29, 2001, 1:0 in Bamako, Mali in 2002, 1:0 in Accra also in 2002, 3:1 in Abuja in 2003 and in Port Said, Egypt CAN 2006 where they won 1:0.
So tonight’s clash at the Griffin Park is a good opportunity for the Stars to settle the scores, and once again, they look like just making it.
Claude Le Roy believes the game is just as any other for him, but don’t believe him on that because he will be playing for a win.
Le Roy guided the Black Stars to a double Asian conquest where Ghana beat Japan and South Korea in separate international friendlies in October 2006.
The coach drew in his third match in charge against Australia later in November and would be hoping to build on the impressive performances in the New Year.
The Black Stars should be at home at Brentford where they played Senegal and Togo last year and against the Super Eagles who are rebuilding their team, a win must not be impossible.