International Friendly Preview: Montenegro v Ghana
By Football News
Ghana continue their preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday with an away friendly against Montenegro.
In December's draw for the global showpiece, Ghana – quarter-finalists in 2010 - were put into a particularly tough group alongside Germany, Portugal and the United States.
While Ghana are sure to have the World Cup in their minds, Montenegro will use this week's fixture as a chance to make progress ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers, which start in September.
Montenegro have been drawn in Group G alongside Russia, Sweden, Austria, Liechtenstein and Moldova, with their qualification campaign beginning against the latter.
Coach Branko Brnovic has labelled Ghana as Africa's leading team and feels Wednesday's match will be of great benefit to his side.
"Ghana is the best team in Africa and they will give us that competitive edge we require in friendly games," said Brnovic.
"Their performance in the World Cup in recent times tells us how good they are as a team.
"They are also preparing towards the World Cup and won't come here for fun so we look forward to that game against a very tough opponent."
Montenegro go into the match in unimpressive form having won only one of their last seven matches – a 4-1 friendly triumph over Luxembourg in November.
Their hopes of reaching the World Cup in Brazil were ended by poor form towards the end of UEFA qualifying.
After winning four out of five games at the start of the campaign, Montenegro fell away badly, failing to win any of their remaining five fixtures and finishing a distant third in Group H behind England and Ukraine.
Ghana, on the other hand, have suffered only one defeat in their last seven, and that came after a penalty shootout when the African Nations Championship final against Libya finished 0-0.
Coach Kwesi Appiah has decided to drop his usual first-choice goalkeeper Fatau Dauda for the trip to Podgorica, with the 28-year-old struggling for first-team football at club level with Orlando Pirates.
Stephen Adams has been selected in Dauda's place and the Adauna Stars man is the only Ghana-based player to be named in the squad, while centre-back duo Jonathan Mensah and John Boye return following injuries.
Although Brnovic believes the match against Ghana will help Montenegro prepare for future competitive action, he will be without arguably his two most important players as Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) and captain Mirko Vucinic (knee) are both unavailable.