The decision to move Sunday’s All Africa Games qualifier between Ghana and Nigeria from Accra to Kumasi is a strategic one by the Ghana Football Association.

Ghanaian journalist, Gary Al- Smith told that crunch games like this one mostly go to Kumasi rather than the country’s capital because it is believed that the fans in Kumasi stand behind the team until the end of the game.

“The Accra fans are like your fans in Lagos. They are very impatient and may even lose interest in the game if the home side do not start scoring early but those in Kumasi are not like that,” Al- Smith said.

“All the hatchet jobs are done in Kumasi so yes, it’s a big factor, this.”

With all of Ghana’s teams out of international football this year, the Ghana FA are really taking this game very seriously because of repercussions that may follow if they fail to qualify for the All Africa Games.

“You can imagine that this is our only chance to play international football this year and the GFA are really in a dilemma because as U23s this team is seen as the future of the Black Stars (Ghana’s senior national team).

“For now we cannot say the team will be disbanded if they fail to qualify but all jobs are on the line,” Al- Smith said.

On the chances of violence breaking out at the stadium if Ghana fail to qualify, Smith assured that what happened at the stadium on Saturday was isolated and will not happen again.

“If Ghana fail to qualify nothing happens. The journalists here are using their radio programs to sensitize fans on the need to behave like Ghanaians. What happened on Saturday was un-Ghanaian and we believe it won’t happen again.

“That altercation between fans and your players will not happen again. It was one off and Ghanaians should not be judged by a few people who make a very minute fraction of football fans here.”

Ghana lost the first leg 3-1 to Nigeria in Benin two weeks again and will need to win by at least two clear goals to have any realistic chance of making it to the All Africa Games.

Gary Al-Smith is a freelance African football journalist for KickOff Magazine, ESPNSoccernet, ITV and others

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