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Ghana’s senior national team – the Black Stars - rounded up their qualification to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Gabon with a one all draw against the Amavubis of Rwanda at the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday in the final match of the group.

The match was of little significance to the Black Stars who have already qualified for the tournament. Coach Avram Grant fielded a fringe side which many saw as an opportunity for non-regular players in the Black Stars to also showcase their worth. Former West Africa Football Academy youngster Samuel Tetteh who now plies his trade in the Austrian league with FC Red Bull Salzburg led the attack for the Black Stars in the absence of Captain Asamoah Gyan and Jordan Ayew who started on the bench. Other players including David Accam, Daniel Amartey, Edwin Gyimah, and Alfred Duncan were handed starting roles in coach Avram Grant’s set up. Udinese star Emmanuel Agyeman Badu had the opportunity to captain the Black Stars for the game. However goalkeeper Razak Brimah, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful kept their places in the starting line-up.


Nonetheless, attendance was not impressive to say the least. The match recorded a disappointing attendance and one could count the heads available in a virtually empty stadium. Perhaps it could be attributed to the brimming rift between the Ghana Football Association and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The enthusiasm towards one of Africa’s best football brand has drastically gone down

 That notwithstanding, the game commenced with the home side enjoying the greater percent of possession in the early quarter of the game. The new entrants were eager to impress the coach and the handful of supporters who came to watch. The Black Stars created some half chances in the early stages but the strikers failed to convert. Samuel Tetteh broke the deadlock in the 24th minute through a solo effort after picking up a pass from Frank Acheampong on the left side. He pierced through two onrushing defenders and drove a powerful shot towards the left side of the Rwandan goal keeper which ended up in the net. The goal raised the tempo of the game a little bit which hitherto had been somewhat dull. The Amavubis needed a win badly to secure their qualification because they are tied on 6 points with Mauritius, and a miraculous win will propel them to the biggest African soccer festival. They started coming out of their shells and initiated attacks on their own but all to no avail. The first half ended with the Black Stars ahead in both possession and a goal.

Muhadjiri Hakizimana grabs equalizer with dazzling free kick.


Back from recess however, the concentration of the game changed, with the Rwandans deciding to go all out. Both sides made some changes but it was the Rwandans who benefitted in that exercise. Ernest Sugira made way for Muhadjir Hakizimana for the Amavudis with Thomas Partey replacing David Accam with 8 minutes to end the game. The substitute Muhadjir equalized through an expertly taken and spectacular free kick that left Black Stars goalie Razak Braimah stranded and the crowd dazzled. The Rwandans who were emboldened by the equalizer pressed for the winner but Coach Avram Grant fortified his midfield to avert any last minute surprises. Jordan Ayew came in for Daniel Amartey in an attempt to increase men upfront to at least get a goal but it ended in futility. The game ended with a one all scoreline after an additional four minutes of extra time. The results of the game was a fair reflection of the game since both side had chances of their own though the Black Stars could have won the game in regulation time.

Black Stars starting line-up:  Razak Brimah, Harrison Afful, Daniel Amartey, Edwin Gyimah, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu(C), Frank Acheampong, David Accam, Samuel Tetteh, Alfred Duncan.

Amavubis starting line-up:  Eric Ndayishimiye, Michel Rusheshangoga, Faustin Usengimana, Helve Rugwiro, Jean Mugiraneza, Yanick Mukunzi, Savio Nshuti, Haruna Hiyonzima, Celestine Ndayishimiye, Jacques Tuyisenge, Ernest Sugira.





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