WITH their attack bristling with explosive firepower already, there was more good news for Ghana ahead of their Orange Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal soccer showdown against Cape Verde on Saturday.
Fiery midfielder Mubarak Wakaso, who suffered a niggling knee injury in his last match against Mali, returned to training on Tuesday and is set to play in Saturday’s clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The hard-working Wakaso, who missed Ghana’s last match against Niger because of suspension, can play a starring role in the knockout stage of the tournament.
Wakaso picked up yellow cards in the matches against DR Congo and Mali, and had to sit out the final group match against Niger on Monday. With his return expected on Saturday, the 22-year-old Wakaso can help carry the Black Stars all the way to the Afcon final in Johannesburg on February 10.
With skipper Asamoah Gyan opting not to take penalties, it was the cool-headed Wakaso who stepped up to net from the penalty spot in his team’s 1-0 win over Mali.
Excitement is building ahead of the quarterfinal and EP soccer boss Mzimkhulu Fina says he wants to see at least 38000 fans inside the stadium on Saturday. “So far I have been happy with the attendances for the group matches but the knockout games should generate even more interest,” Fina said.
Tomorrow, mayor Zanoxolo Wayile will be visiting VW employees to motivate them to buy tickets.
There will be a mobile ticketing system available, coupled with dissemination of leaflets with match fixtures and promotional material.
Meanwhile, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah believes Gyan is peerless and has described him as the best striker in the country.
Appiah has jumped to the defence of the Al Ain marksman following his recent goal drought for the Black Stars.
It took Gyan three matches to register his first goal at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Appiah said the 27-year-old’s contributions to the team were what excited him, and not the number of goals scored.
“Gyan is my captain and I am really satisfied with him,” Appiah told mtnfootball.com.
“Sometimes you look at the game and it is not about the player himself. Sometimes [it’s] how he assists, how he draws people out and creates opportunities for others.”