Ghana delivered a good performance to keep its hopes of qualifying for the first African Nations Championship on course.
The local Black Stars side beat Niger 2-0 in the first leg match of the preliminary round match at the Tamale Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The match was one of the many qualifying games for the new competition played across the continent this weekend.
Both teams in search of a place in the maiden competition designed by CAF for only home-based players of its member countries, but after a strong performance, particularly by the Black Stars, the difference between the sides was eminently more obvious than the two goal difference that the score cards read.
Niger started off promisingly, but Ghana, led by captain, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Eric Bekoe and Harrison Afful soon took charge of possession.
Dominic Adiyiah almost put Ghana ahead when his connection to a Harrison Afful cross missed target narrowly in the 4th minute.
However, after 15 minutes of play, Ghana was in front from an unlikely source, John Boye. The Heart of Lions defender’s header put Ghana in the lead when he jumped onto a cross from the right side of attack.
John Boye’s goal separated both sides after both Eric Bekoe and Ekow Benson came close to scoring.
Back from the break, the order of the half was always likely to be attack and so did the local Black Stars do.
Ghana coach, Claude Le Roy made three changes to the starting team in the second half as the Black Stars surged forward in search of more goals.
15 year-old Tawfiq Gibrine played his debut game for Ghana when he came on as second half substitute.
Fifteen minutes into the start of the second half and Ghana scored to make it 2-0.
Dominic Adiyiah finally redeemed himself after having come close to scoring in the first half as he slotted in the second goal for the Black Stars.
And what a debut it would have been for Tawfiq Gibrine as the youngster's goal bound shot in the closing stages of the game was rather blocked on the goal line by a teammate, who attempted connecting the ball into the post.
The win strengthens Ghana’s quest of reaching the first round stage of the qualifying campaign with the return fixture in Niamey in a fortnight.
The Africa Nations Championships will come off in Ivory Coast from the 22nd of February till the 8th of March 2009.
Ghana line up:
Fatau Dauda, Harrison Afful/ Prince Anokye, David Nii Addy, Hannan Giwa, John Boye, Jordan Opoku, Eric Bekoe, Ekow Benson/Tawfiq Gibrine, Edmund Owusu-Ansah, Dominic Adiyiah, Baba Iddi/ Kofi Nti Boakye
Joseph Addo, Sam Ayew, Richard Manu, Francis Akwafo, Francis Mantey, Emmanuel Banahene, Agyeman Badu, Kwame Adzagbah