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Benin Republic on standby to host Ghana versus Nigeria 

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Although the Ghanaian National Sports Authority are making desperate efforts to find an alternative venue for the first leg encounter of their World Cup play-off with Nigeria, there are indications that the venue may shift to Benin Republic.

Already the venue for Ghana’s crucial World Cup playoff against Nigeria is in limbo.  CAF’s inspectors are expected at the Cape Coast Stadium this Monday.

Sports Village Square gathered that Ghana is proposing  Kumasi Stadium as alternative.  

With eleven days remaining to the first leg in Ghana, FIFA through CAF has sent a warning message that the game will be moved to a neutral ground following the poor nature of the Cape Coast stadium.

The Cape Coast stadium was used for Ghana’s 65th Independence Day parade, leaving the turf in unplayable state.

However, the National Sports Authority has been working around the clock to ensure it is in good shape for the match against Nigeria.

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Meanwhile, an inspection team from CAF has been at the Baba Yara sports stadium in Kumasi to check if it will be ideal as an alternative.

A decision will be made after the inspection of the Cape Coast stadium, but if both stadia fail to meet the requirement the game will be moved to Benin Republic.

Earlier, the Ghana Football Association had requested for the Baba Yara Sports stadium to be considered as an alternative, but it was rejected by CAF.

“Considering the above, the request of change of venue is not accepted, hence the match Ghana Vs. Nigeria for the playoff round of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers should be maintained at Cape Coast Stadium,” a statement from CAF read.

“In case your association reiterate the position to change the venue since there is no other approved venue in Ghana, your national team will be requested to play its upcoming Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round match in an approved stadium outside its territory, and the venue must be selected from among the stadiums approved by CAF.”

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The next available option for Ghana will be the Matthew Kerekou Stadium in Benin, should Cape Coast and Kumasi fail the check.

That will be a huge advantage for Nigeria, who share borders with Benin, as fans will find it easy crossing to support the Super Eagles.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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