Nigeria vs Ghana | Match Preview
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Nigeria vs Ghana | Match Preview

20/03/24 21:50

The two African rivals, Nigeria and Ghana will face off on Saturday in their first match since the 2024 AFCON, with both sides needing to bounce back from the tournament. Nigeria led in the final but failed in the end, losing 2-1 to the Ivory Coast in Abidjan. With one of the best Africans in the world at their disposal in Victor Osimhen, the loss was a massive disappointment to Super Eagles fans. Ghana left the tournament at a much earlier stage, bottling a two goal lead in their final group match by conceding twice in stoppage time to Mozambique in a 2-2 draw which would send the Black Stars out in a shock exit, leaving Mohamed Kudus practically speechless in his post-match interview.

Nigeria have the chance to prove their quality and give their fans a boost by beating their biggest international rivals after the disappointing end to AFCON in February. They will be without their top marksman as Victor Osimhen has been omitted from the Nigerian squad due to an “inflammation of the scar from an old injury”, according to Napoli boss Francesco Calzona. How they will perform without him is something to wait for as he is undoubtedly the best performing Nigerian footballer right now. They are also without Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Aiwoniyi and Luton Town’s Gabriel Osho, leaving them with limited resources. The biggest story for Nigeria, however, is on their touchline as after dismissing Joel Peseiro they have appointed Finidi George, Peseiro’s assistant, as the Super Eagles interim manager. The former Nigerian winger who got himself 62 caps in Green and White has the opportunity of a lifetime. If George wins on Saturday with players missing, it will do a lot for his chances of winning himself the permanent job.

Ghana have a similar situation to face as they are without one of their biggest stars in Thomas Partey. The Black Stars midfielder is still recovering from his most recent injury, only managing a handful of substitution appearances for Arsenal. The Ghanaian national team has also undergone a managerial change of its own as their experiment with Chris Hughton went down ultimately as a failure due to the performance at AFCON. Otto Addo has since replaced Hughton, making this his second stint in the role as Addo took charge of Ghana’s 2022 world cup campaign in Qatar.

He will supposedly be given a lot more control now in the job, and after Hughton’s failure it is assumed there will be more patience from the Ghanaian FA this time. Winning on Saturday has the same influence for Addo as it does for George with Nigeria, defeating your rivals in your first game as manager will be massive. Addo may have the edge over George, however, due to his previous experience in the job.

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