Ghana kick off the group phase of Africa’s 2014 World Cup qualifiers on Friday without the headline figure of their quarter-final run of 2010.
Asamoah Gyan is on a
after missing vital penalties in the semi-finals in South Africa and the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana host Lesotho at 1700 GMT in Group D on Friday, the first of 20 ties in four African groups this weekend.
Group C kicks off an hour later when Egypt play Mozambique in Alexandria.
The match will be played without any fans in attendance, following the
League football has been banned in Egypt since the tragedy and the continental club games played by Al Ahly and Zamalek have taken place behind closed doors.
Ghana’s match in Kumasi will their first competitive fixture under new coach Kwesi Appiah for the first time, and they must find a way to replace Gyan.
The Sunderland striker suffered huge personal disappointment at the last two international tournaments he played in.
In 2010, he had the chance to fire an African team into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time but missed a late penalty against Uruguay and two years later his spot-kick was saved in the Africa Cup of Nations defeat by Zambia.
His misery was compounded when he became for a target Ghana fans.
, who shone at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He misses the game with a shoulder injury.
After many decades of failure, four-time African champions Ghana have qualified for the last two World Cups – reaching the second round on both occasions.
Sudan and African champions Zambia make up Group D.
Egypt have not qualified for the Word Cup since 1990 and will be playing their first competitive match under
, who led the United States at the World Cup two years ago.
The Pharaohs are desperate to reach a competition that has eluded them in recent times.
Despite winning three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles between 2006-2010, Egypt could not translate continental supremacy into a World Cup qualification.
In late 2009, they lost a fiercely contested play-off to North African rivals Algeria as both teams sought to take the 32nd and last World Cup berth available.
Group G is made up by Guinea and Zimbabwe, with both sides searching for a maiden World Cup appearance.R Soft Web Hosting