Former Ghana attacker Bernard Don Bortey believes the Black Stars have enough quality to beat Nigeria for a qualification ticket for the 2022 World Cup set for Qatar later this month.
Arguably the top liner in Africa’s play-off round of games on the road to the global showpiece, Ghana face familiar foes Nigeria over two legs to determine who joins four other nations from the continent for the November 21 to December 18 tournament.
Ghana will host the first leg in Cape Coast on March 25 and travel away for the reverse fixture in Abuja four days later.
“Ghana, Nigeria is a different ball game all together considering the rivalry between us,” Bortey, famous for his exploits with local side Hearts of Oak, told Bryt FM.
“At first, it was not about names but this time around the players will count.
“I believe in Ghana; I believe in the players and I believe Ghana will qualify.”
Ghana and Nigeria’s last meeting in World Cup qualifiers came ahead of the 2002 championship co-hosted by Japan and South Korea where the Super Eagles won the group to book their spot.
The Black Stars are eyeing a return to the tournament after missing out on the 2018 edition in Russia while Nigeria are looking to make it four World Cup appearances in a row.
“In goalkeeping, the [goalkeepers’ trainer Richard Kingston] should have pencilled just about five key goalkeepers for observation for the upcoming match and not as many as 15 goalkeepers, as publicly said he was currently observing a single match,” veteran Ghanaian coach JE Sarpong said in an analysis of the Black Stars’ set-up ahead of the upcoming showdown.
“Apart from goalkeeping, other departments that need to be strengthened to build a formidable team against Nigeria are the midfield and attack.
“We need to oil the midfield and sharpen the attack to ensure that we create and utilise the chances we create for us to win this crucial match and book a ticket to the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament.”
Ghana are expected to be led by Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, who is showing good form for the English side in the Premier League.