Who? Japan – Ghana
Where? International Stadium, Yokohama
When? May 30, 12:45 (CET local time)
Tons of tension in the Japanese national team. It will be their last match in front of their local fans before they will take the flight to Europe. This match will be also part of the Kirin Challenge Cup, which once upon a time used to be a tournament, but nowadays it became a series of friendly matches.
Unfortunately, the main person in the Japanese team will be the coach, Akira Nishino. Even after a successful qualifying campaign, the JFA President decided to sack the former coach, Vahid Halilhodžić, and the veteran local manager has been appointed. It will be Nishino's debut match as the national coach.
There are many doubts about which player will be the x-factor of the team. Some will say it can be Takuma Asano. The 23 years old striker is on loan from Arsenal to Stuttgart and he is one out of eight players that plays in Germany, the most represented foreign league in the squad.
Japan will try to learn a lot from this game. Ghana will be a simulation for playing against an African team that prefers to attack. For the Blue Samurais it may be a preparation for their game at the group stage against Senegal.
After three consecutive World Cups, Ghana will miss the tournament in Russia. The national coach, Kwesi Appiah, decided to use the friendly matches in order to give more players an international experience.
Many players will have a chance to prove to Appiah that they are good enough to be part of this team. Two forwards from the Chinese Super League will be in the front, Franck Acheampong and Richmond Boakye, both made 13 caps in the national team.
The player that will try to make the biggest impact is the midfielder Wakaso Mubarak. He is the oldest player in the squad and he will use his experience to lead his friends during the match.
The next mission of Ghana will be the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and in September they will play against Kenya.