By John Egbokhan in Kumasi, Ghana
Nigeria’s U-23 soccer team are in for real trouble today when they tackle the Black Meteors as Ghanaian fans are set to upset them following the attack on the Austin Eguavoen-tutored team in training yesterday.
According to our reporter on ground at the Kumasi Stadium yesterday, the Nigerians were not allowed free hand to train as the Ghanaian fans pelted them with bottles during training, with chants of war aimed to intimidate them.
Meanwhile the coach of the Black Meteors, Akwasi Appiah stunned the locals when he claimed that he was not under pressure to deliver a qualification ticket for the All Africa Games today.
The Ghanaians were beaten 3-1 by the Nigerians a fortnight back at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, and now face an uphill task of cancelling out that margin by winning 2-0 to seal their passage to the All Africa Games, scheduled to hold in September in Maputo, Mozambique.
With the locals here expecting the team to be in buoyant mood ahead of today’s enthralling game, Coach Apppiah is keeping his cool in his bid to upstage the Nigerians.
With the rivalry between the two countries gathering steam, the soft-spoken former Ghana captain says talk is cheap for whosoever expects him to be running his mouth at such a crucial stage in the history of Ghanaian football.
“The word pressure has never been part of me in my career. I always believe when you go into the game without pressure you can deliver your best and win. There is no need to play under pressure,” he told Accra-based City FM On his part, Nigerian coach, Augustine Eguavoen has maintained that his charges were primed to overcome the stiff challenge which they would face today in Kumasi.
“We are here for a game which we know is not going to be easy and by the grace of God, my players are ready for whatever the Ghanaians would bring in their quest to qualify for the Games. This is no ordinary game. It is going to be total football. It is going to be a tough one but we are ready for the race till we achieve our aim of qualifying”, said Eguavoen.