EN ROUTE DHAKA ‘DEFYING THE ODDS’
By: D.A. ABABIO JNR
The male black sticks have departed for the 2016-17 Men’s FIH World League Round Two. Their eligibility to compete for this round was confirmed after beating all teams (Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya) which participated in the Round One in September 2016 in Accra.
The Round two promises to be tougher with other higher ranked teams placed in Ghana’s group and section as a whole. Ghana placed in Group B, will face China, Egypt and Sri Lanka in an all play all. Group A will do likewise.
Ranking is really taken into cosideration when drawing up the fixtures and the mode of play. Ideally, it is very clear that, with all other things being equal we already occupy the 6th position among the teams to play in Dhaka come 4th to 12th March, according to FIH.
This is yet another tournament, some positions will change after the tournament. Some will go higher, others will come down. How is Ghana going to fare?
However, below are some 10 facts which when carefully considered, could see Ghana to the top.
1. We need not win all matches in the group stages.
2. Placing second or third in our group will be fine.
3. Sri Lanka must be beaten at all cost.
4. Defeating China and Egypt will boost our confidence in subsequent games.
5. It won’t be easy but it’s not far-fetched. Beating either China or Egypt will make us second in our group. (Egypt must have a good match from us, we have known them better than the Chinese team)
6. We will meet Oman or Bangladesh in the quarter finals. It will be awesome when we meet Oman instead of Bangladesh. After all its just a one position and 7 points difference in the ranking and we don’t want to suffer under odd scenarios of the host nation like the ladies did but in case we meet Bangladesh, we will still have to make an impact.
7. We will qualify to the top four upon beating either of them.
8. If we qualify to the top four and we are fortunate to meet Egypt, let’s convince our conscience to take the match to Nairobi and play it like GH POLICE vs SHARKIA and EXCHEQUERS vs KENYA POLICE. If we don’t meet Egypt, we shall definitely meet China again. Let’s not lose twice to them.
9. We automatically qualify to round three when we win this match.
10. FIH executives will open their eyes wide to watch what you guys as you play in the finals. They will just want to see what you are really made of and Africa Hockey will smile at us.
IT IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY AT ALL, BUT…IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING.