Kanu backs Eagles to end 14-year Ghana jinx

Kanu backs Eagles to end 14-year Ghana jinx

Former Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu has backed the Super Eagles to end their 14-year winless jinx when they face Ghana in a Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off this Friday at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi on Friday.

The Blacks Stars have an edge over the Eagles going into this tie, with Otto Addo’s side winning 21 games, drawing 18 and losing 10.

The Eagles last defeated the Blacks Stars on January 23, 2006, in an Africa Cup of Nations game in Port Said, Egypt courtesy of a long-range strike from Taye Taiwo.

After that victory, both teams have met four times with the Eagles recording one draw and three defeats.

However, 11 years after their last meeting in a friendly at the Vicarage Road in England, which ended goalless, both West African countries are set for an epic battle for one of Africa’s five tickets to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking with The PUNCH, former Eagles captain Kanu said, “We have a good team to qualify us for the World Cup but technically we must be careful, we must not judge them (Ghana) based on how they fared at the AFCON in Cameroon.

“It’s going to be crucial and I believe we will beat them to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. The team will do us proud.”

Retired goalkeeper and Atlanta 1996 Olympics gold medallist Dosu Joseph also echoed his former teammate’s thoughts, insisting that featuring at the World Cup was enough motivation for the Eagles to beat Ghana.

“Playing Ghana has not been easy whether in friendlies, tournaments or in age-grade competitions, this will not be an exception. The players and coaches know what is at stake and I believe with the quality of players in the team, we can beat Ghana to qualify,” Dosu said.

Another ex-keeper Ike Shorunmu, who played for the Eagles between 1992 and 2002, believes Austin Eguavoen’s abundant attacking talents will make the difference.

Eguavoen listed nine forwards Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, Sadiq Umar, Samuel Chukwueze and Emmanuel Dennis for the game.

“I expect a very tight game in Kumasi, however, I’m optimistic the strikers at our disposal will give us an edge,” he said.

“We have not beaten Ghana in our last four meetings and the players are aware of this and the importance of the game. So, it’s a chance to end that.”

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