Ghana football chief, Kwesi Nyantakyi, believes Ghana’s World Cup hopes have been dealt a heavy blow by the Black Stars inability to beat the Red Devils of Congo, with the Stars having just two points out of a maximum nine and five points off group leaders, Uganda.
Mr Nyanktakyi, who as GFA boss supervised Ghana’s three World Cup appearances in 2006, 2010 and 2014 said he had all but given up hopes of a fourth consecutive campaign in Russia next year. "Our destiny is no longer in our hands," said the distraught GFA president in a post-match interview last Saturday.
Former Ghana international, Sam Johnson, also shared in Mr Nyantakyi’s view that the Black Stars’ chances of making it to Russia 2018 was all but over after last friday’s 1-1 draw in Kumasi.
Victory by Ghana last Friday would have enhanced the team’s chances but the draw left Coach Kwasi Appiah’s charges, with just two points out of a possible nine ahead of the return leg in Brazzaville on Tuesday.
With just three more matches to play, the 44-year-old former Fenerbahce left-back told the Graphic Sports yesterday that it would only take a miracle to turn around Ghana’s fortunes.
“Our chances are limited now because of the draw and I doubt if we can make it to the next World Cup considering the points of the other teams in the group,” Johnson noted.
Johnson, who featured for Ghana at the 1994,1996, 1998 and 2000 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, insisted that it would only take a miracle for the team to steer back on track to grab the slot from Group E.
“Considering the way the Congolese played here it would be difficult for us to go and beat them at home,” he opined.
The Black Stars have only a mathematical chance of still pulling it off even if they beat Congo in Brazzaville tomorrow and their remaining matches while Uganda hold Egypt in Alexandria tomorrow.
However, Johnson does not share in that optimism because the Stars just blew away a fine opportunity to win their home games and at least fight for a favourable results in the away games to make it to Russia.
Meanwhile, Black Stars Coach, Kwasi Appiah, is not giving up on hope despite the team’s thin chance of qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup.
He said despite Ghana's poor start, the team would give their best until the qualifiers are over.
"In football, you can never say never,” Coach Appiah said in a post-match interview last Friday
Ghana are third on the log with two points behind Uganda (seven points), Egypt (six point) and would need to win the rest their matches, including a return encounter against Congo tomorrow to revive her hope.
However, the coach disagreed with the assertion that he repeated the same mistakes that cost him his job on his first stint with the team by not applying the right tactics and not fielding the best players in the first half.
Appiah has a herculean task of psyching up the players to get over last Friday’s result and focus on the return leg.
"These are all professionals and most of them have experienced such scenarios before so, I am sure they will get over it before the next game,” he said.