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Depleted Ghana squad prepares to face Uganda


Nairobi (AFP) – Ghana’s Black Stars left Kenya on Thursday for Uganda ahead of the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier in the Ugandan capital Kampala at the weekend.

The Ghanaians arrived in the Kenyan capital this week for three days of acclimatisation training missing some of their top players who are out with injuries ahead of Saturday’s Group E clash.

But head coach James Kwesi Appiah is optimistic the team will rally to beat Uganda and keep alive hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Players that are in now, their confidence levels are rising slowly and for that reason I believe when they go out there, there’s not too much pressure on them,” Appiah said, adding the players will be looking to “express themselves” on the pitch.

Ghana will be without five first team regulars for the weekend match, including defender Harrison Afful and captain Asamoah Gyan, who led the team in its 5-1 demolition of Congo Brazzaville in their last World Cup qualifier.

The coach has been forced to bring in five new players to the squad, all set to earn their first caps. They include midfielder Kingsley Sarfo of Swedish side Malmo, defender Vincent Atings of Ghana premier league’s Hearts of Oak and striker John Atwin of Egyptian side Misr Makkasa, all of whom trained with the team for the first time in Nairobi.

A win in Kampala is vital for the Black Stars — currently placed third in the group with five points from four matches — before their final qualifier against current leaders Egypt, at home in Accra on November 6.

Uganda, which is in second place with seven points will be without former Kenya-based midfielder Khalid Aucho and Murushid Jjuuko who are suspended.

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