An alleged off-field tactics by Ghana officials to destabilise the Super Eagles ahead of their crucial first leg final qualifier for the Qatar 2022 World Cup in Kumasi has been leaked, The Punch reports.
Ghana host the first leg of the qualifiers at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi on Friday, with the reverse fixture in Abuja four days later.
Our correspondent learnt that the Ghanaians were afraid that they might not stand a chance against the star-studded Nigerian side and have instead deployed other means to see how they could win the first leg by high score a line, to turn the return leg in Abuja to a mere formality.
Our source, who is close to the Ghanaian football authorities, said Black Stars officials have been working on the plan, which includes rejecting the COVID-19 certificates of the biggest stars of the Nigerian team and run their own tests, which according to him, they plan to use to psychologically demoralise the Nigerians.
“I was told two weeks ago of a plot by the Ghanaians to make sure they defeat Nigeria in the first leg by a wide margin. My Ghanaian contact told me to tell the NFF to instruct their team that they shouldn’t eat anything at the hotel, including drinking and bathing water.”
On the COVID-19 issue, our source added, “This afternoon, they called me again. Now, I learnt they’ve hatched another plot to destabilise or disqualify the Eagles star players. What they want to do is that they will claim that the (COVID-19) certificates presented by our key players are not tenable, that they will have to conduct their own tests. Even if they later clear the players, the players would have been discouraged, because it would come late.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles have adjusted their travel plans and will not jet out to Kumasi on Thursday (today). They were earlier scheduled to fly out from Abuja on Wednesday.
It was also learnt that officials of the three-time African champions have made new arrangement for their accommodation in the neighbouring West African country, after they were earlier scheduled to lodge at the 3-Star Noda Hotel.
The squad will now lodge at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi, the NFF made the hotel change known in a statement on Wednesday.
Also, President, Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, says the federation is doing everything legal and acceptable for Nigeria to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Pinnick made this known during a meeting with some members of the NFF Executive Committee at the federation’s secretariat on Wednesday.
“Of course, we are not the ones going into the field,” Pinnick said.
“But the arrangements we put in place will, to a large extent, determine the spirit with which the players will enter the pitch. All our arrangements must be flawless and without sloppiness. It is a FIFA World Cup ticket at stake, so we must give it our all.
“Whatever efforts we have been making to ensure seamless movement to and fro, as well as accommodation of our contingent at major matches, must be doubled for the match in Kumasi.
“Nigerians don’t want to hear any story; they only want to see the World Cup ticket.”