With their 2007 All-African Games ticket almost nipped in the bag, Ghana kick-off their 2008 Olympic Games campaign against Burkina Faso on Wednesday, with fresh targets.
The main task for the Black Meteors this year is to qualify for the two major competitions, one on the continent where Algeria host the All-Africa Games and the other in far away China.
After making early progress under Cecil Jones Attuquayefio in the All-African Games qualifier, confidence is high and victory in Ouagadougou is well within the grasp of the Olympic team for qualification to the Beijing Games in 2008.
Attuquayefio together with backroom staff and ten locally-based players departed Tamale Saturday morning for Ouagadougou.
Two other locally-based players – Isaac Vorsah and goalkeeper Eric Nii Baah, who are both on club duties in the CAF Champions League competition for Asante Kotoko would join their colleagues on Sunday, a day after honouring club commitments.
The Black Meteors team would bolstered by the arrival of eight foreign-based players on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s game and that would swell the squad number to 20.
Haminu Dramani, Michael Helegbe, Nafiu Iddrisu, Nana Kwasi Asare, Emmanuel Boakye, Bernard Yao Kumordzi, Mohammed Abubakari and Samuel Yeboah would fly in from their various bases teem up with the rest of the squad on Monday.
And Cecil Jones Attuquayefio has been happy with preparations though he confesses it would have been best to have all his players in camp for a while.
However Jones acknowledges that club duties sometimes come in the way of national team preparations and respectfully recognizes the FIFA regulations on the release of players.
“I am happy with the level of preparations so far. I expect to have all players on Monday. Ideally, we would have wished we had all our boys by now but we have still get on with work.
“Then on Tuesday, we would have a training session to have a look at them (foreign players) briefly before Wednesday,” Jones Attuquayefio said before the team’s departure.
Burkina Faso, have over the years developed into a quality side after years of gradual youth development programmes that seems to have contributed immensely to their senior side.
Nevertheless, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio is well aware that, unless his charges deliver positive results, qualification for a third Olympic Games participation would be difficult.
Three tickets would be available to next year’s football competition at the Olympic Games from the African continent.
The male Olympic team would seek to pick one of Africa’s tickets and Cecil Jones Attuquayefio together with his backroom staff remain hopeful of delivering Ghana an Olympic Games ticket.