It’s not like we’ve won the World Cup yet. That’s much far away from us. And it’s also not like we’ve made roundly positive impact at the tournament as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is itself yet to start with the Black Stars taking on Portugal next Thursday.
But against the backdrop of the disillusionment that enveloped our camp after Otto Addo’s two friendly matches — first, the 3:0 loss to Brazil and the unconvincing win 1-0 over Nicaragua, it was necessary the team gave Ghanaians a good taste of what they’re likely to serve us in Qatar as they engaged Switzerland in their final friendly.
Two debut goals from Mohammed Salisu and Antoine Semenyo were enough for the Black Stars to turn on the taps of hope for fans who haven’t been so confident. You wouldn’t blame these fans. In recent Black Stars friendlies, the team hadn’t given Ghanaians assurances that they would be a team to bank on. Playing the respected Switzerland on Thursday, the Black Stars however gave a glimmer of hope.
Handing a starting role to home based star, Afriyie Barnieh, Otto Addo left many wondering whether he was in to experiment more than give a strong clue of how his team would look like when they take on Portugal in their first group game. Barnieh didn’t disappoint. He showed a good dose of confidence, surging forward brilliantly and further aiding the team’s play in the fairly balanced first half.
Mohammed Salisu gave Ghana the lead after 70 minutes with a header that zoomed into the right corner of the net. Antoine Semenyo would make it 2-0 in the 74th minute. That affirmed the positive pre-tournament signals the Black Stars intended to give. The Swiss attempted a fight back but then they simply lacked the firepower to break the resolve of the Black Stars in the searing Abu Dhabi temperatures.
That Ghana didn’t concede is a positive takeaway not just for the defence but a personal joy for goalie, Ati Zigi and notably his critics, who refuse to appreciate him and the point that, with the late injuries to Richard Ofori and Joojo Wollacott, he’s the team's safest pair of hands. With the win over Switzerland, the consensus is that, it’s been a topsy-turvy build up to our Qatar campaign.
Focusing earlier on our coaching hiccups; that’s settling on Otto Addo and his assistants a bit too late and on part-time basis; the uninspiring form in the previous friendlies, the boisterous player selection talk and the last minute injuries to our goalkeepers, hope was fading but Thursday’s game offered a refreshing veneer over all we’ve experienced and that forme, is a perfect by wrap Otto Addo and his team.