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Black Stars looking to shine against Brazil

KEY MAN: Asamoah Gyan

WITH GHANA set to take on Brazil at Craven Cottage on September 5 it is worth noting how the Black Stars have progressed since the pair’s second round meeting at the 2006 World Cup.

That day the South Americans dispatched Ghana 3-0 in Dortmund, the score line reflecting the callowness and inexperience of the defeated World Cup debutants.

Five years later the tables have not turned – both made the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa – but the Black Stars have ridden an upward trajectory while Brazil lumber like an arthritic colossus.

Ghana were left carrying African hopes in South Africa and the exploits of Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng were remarkable in the absence of injured superstar Michael Essien.

The Black Stars came within a 120th minute penalty kick of becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Brazil, by comparison, lacked the stardust of former great Brazilian sides and failed to forge a cohesive unit that could offset this shortcoming against better sides.

The five-times world champions saw their fallibilities exposed by Holland in a quarter-final defeat. This paucity endured as Paraguay eliminated Brazil on penalties in the quarter-finals at this summer’s Copa America.

In contrast Ghana continue to ride the wave of optimism generated in South Africa. Head of the Ghanaian FA (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi, wants the Black Stars established among the football superpowers.

This is the third senior level meeting between the sides and the West Africans will be hoping to draw on the support of Britain’s Ghanaian ex-patriot community who came out in support for the Black Stars’ Wembley clash with England last March.

“The match is part of our plans of getting the best sides to test the Black Stars with the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations approaching,” Nyantakyi told MTNFootball.com.

The GFA has been criticised for agreeing to replace Egypt as Brazil’s opponents at Craven Cottage.

The match comes three days after Ghana’s 2012 Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland in Accra with the Black Stars currently level with Sudan at the top of Group I.

Criticism would be more vociferous were the match to precede the Swaziland match and few professionals would decline the opportunity to test their mettle against Brazil.

It will take more than a meeting with a moribund Brazil to establish Ghana at the pinnacle but nothing serves better as a yardstick of how far the Black Stars have risen.

For tickets go to: www.fulhamfc.com/tickets or call 0843 2081 234

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