When Ghana and Nigeria clash today in the World Cup play-off in Kumasi, the teams will be playing against their biggest rivals on the Continent and former Super Eagles coach Christian Chukwu believes the stars are aligned for Nigeria to come out tops.
In what is dubbed the Derby of Africa, one of either Ghana or Nigeria will miss out on a place in the biggest football tournament in the World which holds later this year in Qatar.
Africa will present five teams at the World Cup and for Nigeria’s technical crew that includes former players Austin Eguavoen, Emmanuel Amuneke and Joseph Yobo, securing one of the tickets will be the “biggest motivation” Chukwu insists.
“The players we have and the technical crew that is in charge now, I think that we can come over Ghana beautifully,” the former Super Eagles Coach told FL.
“Football is unpredictable at times, it is not what you think that will happen. But I believe that this technical crew have seen it all, they’ve played and won laurels and the biggest motivation now is to qualify for the World Cup; that is the biggest tournament they can think of.
“So, the players are eager to, everybody is and Nigerians are fully behind them. They should go out and play their game and they should not underrate Ghana.”
In the 70s Chukwu played for and captained Nigeria before taking up coaching roles in the National team down the stretch.
His memories of the encounters against Ghana were the feistiest clashes and quite anticipated as well.
“I played against Ghana, when we played the Nigeria vs Ghana Academical. We played Ghana again in Lagos when Owusu (Kwasi) was the top striker in West Africa and the entire Africa.
“We beat them narrowly but it was very very tough,” Chukwu recalled.
However, Ghana have had a better head to head against their West African neighbors in recent times and historically.
The last four meetings between them have seen the Black Stars go undefeated, picking three wins in the process.
Yet, on current form Nigeria look the better side on paper; quality players, on the strength of the teams performance at the AFCON in Cameroon earlier this year.
So, according to Christian Chukwu with the quality of the Super Eagles the team ought to go all out for a win in Kumasi.
“I believe we have more younger players now; talented ones, and so I won’t suggest for them to go there and play defensive football. I would advice them – we have the players, we have the team let them go for winning.
“Open the game and I believe that they will come back with victory,” the 71 year-old offered.
“Even as an experienced Player and Coach it is difficult to predict a football match, because you don’t know what is happening in the team, but, my wish is that Nigeria will win.
“Definitely, you have to support your own team, what I need is a victory no matter the scoreline.”