Ghana are set to be without captain Asamoah Gyan for the first of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double header against Mozambique due to a hamstring injury.
The Shanghai SIPG striker has been struggling with a thigh problem in recent weeks and the problem appeared to rear its ugly head again in training on Wednesday, however tests showed he had suffered a sprain on his hamstring.
Local media is now reporting that Gyan is out of Thursday’s contest against Mozambique in Accra, while his involvement for the return Group H contest on Sunday is also in jeopardy.
Ghana, though, will hope to have enough in their squad to cope with Gyan’s absence and make it three wins from three in Group H with Avram Grant’s men – finalists in the 2015 AFCON – having beaten Mauritius and Rwanda thus far.
Grant heads into the match in Accra having faced some criticism for not spending enough time in Ghana, with the nation’s former Football Association president Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe calling for him to be dismissed.
The Israeli will be in charge against Mozambique, though, and Grant will not allow complacency to set in against a team ranked 59 places below Ghana in the FIFA World Ranking.
“We have a very important Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique in a two-legged qualifier. They are a very good team, so we want to be at our best,” he told FIFA.com.
“We haven’t finished the job yet. I believe when you come to a team, and you see progress, progress and progress, the results will come. Ghana is a country of football, there are very good people there and players with a lot of talent and I can see progress.”
Ghana, who recalled goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey to the squad for the first time since the 2014 World Cup, have not faced off against Mozambique since a 1-0 friendly win in June 2004.
Mozambique, who will be coached by former Liverpool and Everton defender Abel Xavier for the first time, face a must-win match having lost 1-0 to both Rwanda and Mauritius in their opening two matches.
And having been knocked out of World Cup qualifying by Gabon, Mozambique will be desperate to reignite their bid to play at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.