By CHRIS SULEIMAN
The biggest football rivalry in the West African sub-region has been set for Sunday between the two sworn enemies in the field of play: the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Black Stars of Ghana. It is the final of the 2017 West African Football Union Cup of Nations.
Needless to bore readers with the depth and width of rivalry that exists between these two nations when the round leather game takes the centre stage. This rivalry predates independence of the two nations. Both nation’s have strove to hard to out do each other’s records set in continental and world stage. And meeting on the field of play has been warlike.
And tomorrow, the rivalry has been reignited again as both sides lock horns in the 2017 WAFU Cup finals in Ghana.
It is a game between the best scoring side of the tournament and the best defending team of the competition. Ghana have scored the highest goals in the competition, while Nigeria have not conceded any with their strikers having difficulty to hit the back of the net more than three times in five games.
Ghana won all their matches except against Nigeria where they lost by 2-0 to top their group, while Nigeria were forced to play two goalless draws against Mali and Guinea to finish second behind Ghana which set a final match against Benin Republic where Kano Pillars ace Rabiu Ali’s early goal gave the needed victory to the Super Eagles to set up a Ghana-Nigeria final after the Black Stars defeated their Niger Republic counterparut by 2-0.
Ghana will be enjoying a home support against a Nigerian side which suffered goal drought in this tournament. The only big win in the tournament for Nigeria was against the Black Stars of Ghana and before the match, the Ghanaian national team had already qualified for the semi-final and the final game may be a different ball game all together.
Soccer fans in Nigeria are worried about the poor scoring ability of the Super Eagles and the fears been expressed are will the Salisu Yusuf tutored boys deliver the goals that seem to have dried off their boots on the final day? As some will say, maybe they decided to serve the best wine last.
The Ghanaian side will be hoping to seek revenge of the two nill loss in the presence of their home fans and they will want to do it in style, because a win against Nigeria on Sunday night will be rewarded with the tournament’s trophy.
For many soccer fans in Nigeria, the CHAN Eagles must up their game against Ghana if they will emerge victorious against the Black Stars that would be enjoying support of the whole Ghanaians against the 11 players of the Super Eagles who will be relying on their ability to play good result-oriented football and the match officials to be fair enough to both sides according to the rules of the game and a handful of Nigerian officials and fans at the stadium to cheer then to victory.
Certainly, tomorrow is another day where soccer records between these two nations will be made.