Namibia dealt Ghana a rude awakening in their first of two test matches towards their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign Sunday afternoon.
The Brave Warriors handed the Black Stars a 1-0 defeat in the match played behind closed doors at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence in Dubai.
Head coach Kwasi Appiah used two separate sides for the game with 26 of the 28 available players in camp enjoying a run-out.
The starting XI saw the return of left-back Baba Rahman after a two-year absence, while Asante Kotoko’s Fatawu Safiu Fatawu was handed his debut, playing behind the striking pair of Jordan Ayew and Majeed Waris.
Namibia looked content sitting back for Ghana to attack in the early exchanges. And just after the half-hour mark, they took full advantage of a spill by Lawrence Ati-Zigi. The goalkeeper failed to grab a shot at the first attempt. Manfred Starke emerged and nicked home the opener and only goal of the game.
Towards the end of first half, Kwasi Appiah threw in star duo Thomas Partey and Kwadwo Asamoah in the Black Stars midfield but the Brave Warriors held on to their 1-0 lead at the break.
And at the start of second half, the coach rested the starting squad with the introduction of the following: Felix Annan, Andy Yiadom, Lumor Agbenyenu, Kasim Nuhu, Mohammed Alhassan, Mubarak Wakasso, Ebenezer Ofori, Samuel Owusu, Thomas Agyepong, Kwabena Owusu, and Caleb Ekuban.
Only skipper Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan did not have a bite of the game as the Stars failed to pull level despite a penalty opportunity that came moments into the second half. Midfielder Mubarak Wakaso saw his well-taken strike from the spot come off the upright.
The friendly afforded coach Kwasi Appiah the opportunity to gauge the readiness of his team and as well inform his decision in the selection of Ghana’s final 23. He has up to Tuesday, June 11 to meet the deadline for the submission of squads to the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
The Black Stars will next play South Africa in their final prep match at their Dubai training camp base. Bafana Bafana are scheduled to leave Johannesburg for the United Arab Emirates on Monday to hold the second phase of their preparations.