Ghana’s Black Stars began their quest to qualify for an eighth successive Africa Cup of Nations with a 5-0 thrashing of Ethiopia on Sunday.
An own goal, a brace from Switzerland-based Raphael Dwamena and one each from Ebenezer Ofori and John Boye ensured that the Stars go top of Group F in the qualifying for Cameroon 2019.
The match played at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium was the first for James Kwesi Appiah since his return to take charge of the senior national men’s soccer team.
It was also the first for some of the backroom staff including goalkeepers’ trainer Richard Kingson and assistant coach Ibrahim Tanko.
The team was a blend of the old and the new with Kwesi Appiah blooding three players in his starting line-up.
Dwamena, Thomas Agyepong and Lumor Agbenyenu found their places in the starting line-up alongside old folks like Asamoah Gyan and Dede Ayew, who debuted for the Stars in 2003 and 2007 respectively.
Ofori’s run on the left side of attack in the 15th minute found the head of Gyan, whose effort hit defender Mujib Kasim to record the first goal.
Boye found himself in the penalty area in the closing minutes of the first half to drive a ball into Ethiopian goal.
Ofori’s individual effort and a stunning strike gave the Stars three goals at the break.
The second half would only record goals from FC Zurich’s marksman Dwamena though the Ethiopians regained life to threaten the Stars occasionally. On all occasions, goalkeeper Richard Ofori was up to the task.
The Stars will play away to Kenya’s Harambee Stars in the next qualifier in March, 2018. The East Africans lost their first game on Saturday to Sierra Leone.
Sign up for GhanaStar.com to receive daily email alerts of breaking news in Ghana. GhanaStar.com is your source for all Ghana News. Get the latest Ghana news, breaking news, sports, politics, entertainment and more about Ghana, Africa and beyond.