Can fasting, prayers and luck aid Ghana’s World Cup campaign? | Qatar World Cup 2022 News

Previous appearances at the World Cup: 2006, 2010, 2014
Securities: 0
Better finish: Quarter-finals (2010)
World Cup record: W4 D2 L6
Goals: 13
Biggest win: 2-0 v Czech Republic (2006)
Player to watch: Thomas Partey
Ranking: 61
Fixtures: Portugal (November 24), South Korea (November 28), Uruguay (December 2)

At the start of 2022, the Ghana national football team was at an all-time low.

Eliminated from the African Cup of Nations (CAN) in the group stage and faced with the prospect of a World Cup qualifier against Nigeria, the prognosis was grim and a World Cup place in Qatar was a long way off. to be likely.

The Ghana FA’s decision to sack Milovan Rajevac and hand over the reins to former international Otto Addo at short notice was the ultimate gamble. Employed in Borussia Dortmund’s youth roster in Germany, Addo had no senior-level coaching experience and no guarantees.

It proved a masterstroke as the Black Stars edged the qualifiers two against Nigeria on away goals and secured a place at the World Cup, having missed out in 2018.

Otto Addo
Otto Addo (left) helped secure Ghana’s qualification for the next World Cup [Susana Vera/Reuters]

Only 12 years ago, by becoming the third African team to reach the quarter-finals and only the second to qualify for the knockout stages at consecutive World Cups, things were looking up for Ghana.

But that momentum was halted when the Black Stars crashed out in the group stage in 2014, making headlines after sending $3m in cash to Brazil to quell the team’s turmoil over bonuses unpaid.

Since reaching the CAN 2015 final, there has been an unmistakable slide. Getting to the World Cup stopped that, but six months later some of the shine is gone.

A number of factors have now cast doubt on the Black Stars’ prospects in Qatar, and with the World Cup approaching, the mood on the streets of Accra and Kumasi is overwhelmingly negative.

“People aren’t too excited that the Black Stars don’t seem to have a team even after so many months and playing in qualifying,” Ghanaian journalist Saddick Adams told Al Jazeera. “The resentment has been there since the disastrous AFCON campaign in January.”

Since beating Nigeria in March, Ghana have won only two of their next six matches – against Madagascar and Nicaragua. In between, they drew with the Central African Republic and Chile, and suffered heavy three-goal defeats against Japan and Brazil.

Those dismal results — along with the sluggish, unimaginative performances that accompanied them and some confusing personnel choices — called Addo’s ability to handle the Black Stars into question.

It also led many to question his continued involvement with Borussia Dortmund: reluctance to commit full-time to the national team was seen as an indication of a lack of commitment and investment from His part.

This lack of clarity reflects poorly on the Ghana FA, according to African football expert Mark Gleeson.

“The fact that they have a coach who has had no coaching experience at senior level, and seems to have named this man on a wing and a prayer really, and then kept him after they overtook Nigeria, who, as you know, was completely serendipitous result. In my opinion, it beggars belief,” Gleeson told Al Jazeera.

“It just shows that the FA’s decision-making is quite amateurish and I think they’re going to pay the price for that, which is a real shame.”

With so much background noise, there is a real chance that Ghana could implode in Qatar.

Their prospects are hardly bright as they stand, given their draw. In Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea, they will face the ghosts of past World Cups, as well as some of the best strikers in world football: Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Son Heung-Min (injuries permitting), for to name a few.

There has been little to smile about for Ghana fans in recent years [Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

” It’s truly sad. If Ghana played together, Group H is not as difficult as it looks on paper,” journalist Solace Chukwu told AlJazeera.

“Uruguay are currently in a transition phase. Negativity from Fernando Santos, in addition to an aging defense, is holding Portugal back; and Korea are still competitive. It’s far from a hopeless group. C It’s just a shame that Ghana is so lacking in organization right now.

The Ghana FA’s latest preparatory ploy, the announcement of two days of prayer and fasting, has drawn widespread derision.

Seventy-one percent of Ghana’s population is Christian, with 17 percent Muslim and a small segment adhering to traditional indigenous religions.

These stats underestimate the fervor of daily faith, but it remains to be seen whether a call to the divine will actually benefit the Black Stars’ chances in Qatar.

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