Neither Ghana nor Nigeria lived up to the Derby of Africa hype in unimpressive stalemate in Kumasi


All the hype and anticipation of the first installment of the Derby of Africa was never truly matched by the performances of both Ghana’s Black Stars and Nigeria’s Super Eagles inside a capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium as well as several million viewers at home, who expected a football master class.

Those expectations, that this was a game to produce drama, thrills, great moments and such, all petered into indifference leaving most with mixed reactions.
It was not almost a drab game despite the scoreless outcome. There were opportunities, but for some reason the actors of this Clasico didn’t come with their ‘A game’.
Moses Simon couldn’t complete a dribble, Samuel Chukwueze was amiss, Kelechi Iheanacho would ghost then reappear but produced nothing short of a mediocre show.
The Ghanaian attackers were all out of sorts, it was embarrassing to watch.
It’s not surprising that Austin Eguavoen, hard pressed to admit his strategy was a complete mess would quickly take solace in the draw outcome and talk unabashedly of an imagined top level show in Abuja four days yonder.
Nobody who had seen Nigeria’s lacklustre show against Tunisia at the AFCON in January and the similarities it bore with Friday’s subpar show will take the words of the interim Coach seriously.
The same inadequacies in Garoua reared their ugly heads again; predictability, no immediate tactical response or change with the personnel on the pitch that impacted the game until an unfortunate injury to Innocent Bonke forced the substitution of Peter Etebo, who single handedly calmed the storm Thomas Partey and his teammates had conjured up for a 70minutes spell – with only intermittent breaks.
So, Abuja will definitely hold the key and more than anything, home support for the team will matter and can be counted on.
The Moshood Abiola Stadium – as it’s now called – has not see a Super Eagles game for over a decade, it’s only logical that this game that harmonizes our Country in the deepest, saddest moments of our national lives, will attempt to wipe away all that grief, hopefully inside 90minutes by assuring the ticket to Qatar later this year.
Meanwhile, Fans of both teams went numb on social media, the banter wars were quieted because none of the sides did nearly well enough – maybe the average Ghana side under a Rookie coach.
There was no victor or vanquish, but what’s a certainty is the decider in Abuja will build its buzz and unlike in Kumasi, one side must fall.


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