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India need a draw

Hyderabad: Ending days of uncertainty, Ghana were Thursday struck out of the football competition in the inaugural Afro-Asian Games, having failed to arrive even a day after the matches had started.

Though the officials were maintaining till last night that the team had agreed to come, a revised schedule for the football events was released this afternoon. As per the revised schedule, Group A has now been reduced to three teams — India, Malaysia and Rwanda — a development which has almost made sure of the hosts presence in the semi-final.

India have already won their opening match against Rwanda and even a draw would be enough for them against Malaysia Friday to be in the last four.

The football fixtures were postponed by a day to Wednesday after Ghana and Rwanda failed to arrive in time.

The absence of Ghana, ranked among the top 10 in Africa, comes as the latest blow to the football competition which lost much of its glamour after other big African teams Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal expressed their inability to take part in the inter-continental meet.

India need a draw, but could well pick up a win, because Malaysia, have fielded their under-20 team with the senior team playing in Asia Cup qualifiers.

Malaysian chief coach Norizan Abu Baker was recently quoted in the official website of the country’s football federation, saying he wants to use the Games to select quality players for the SEA Games to be held in Vietnam in December. In group B Zimbabwe thrashed Burkina Faso 4-1 at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. (PTI)

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