Some die-hard Nigerian football fans do not seem to share the disappointment in Ghana at the news that injury problems have ruled Black Stars' captain Stephen Appiah out of the forthcoming Nations Cup, to be hosted by the Ghanaians.Some of the fans interviewed by PANA here Saturday described the news that Appiah would be out of action for two months as ''sweet music'' to their ears, since Ghana is seen as one of the obstacles to Nigeria's quest for an elusive third African Nations Cup title.
Nigerian newspapers also gave a big play to the news, almost to the point of gloating about it.''Well, it is sad, but anything that will weaken the Black Stars is welcome,'' said Ojo Akinola, who described himself as an avid supporter of the Super Eagles.''We (Nigeria) didn't cause Appiah's injury, but if we can benefit from his absence (at the Nations Cup), why not,'' he added.Another fan, Johnson Ajewole, said since Nigeria and Ghana could meet as early as the quarter finals, it would be nice for the Ghanaians not to be in the best form for the competition.
''The Black Stars are a formidable team, and one of the most successful in the history of the Nations Cup. Therefore, no team can afford to underrate them,'' he said.Ghana is in group A of the 26th edition of the four-yearly competition, billed for 20 January-10 February 2008, while Nigeria is in group B.But the two age-long soccer rivals may possibly meet right after the preliminary round (quarter-finals), when the winner of group A is slated to meet the runner-up in group B.
Ghana has a formidable Nations Cup record, having won the competition four times (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982), second only to Egypt with a record five victories.On the other hand, arch-rival Nigeria has only won it twice (1980 and 1994).