The Black Stars will today hope to seal qualification for the next African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Cote d’Ivoire when they welcome the Wild Beasts of Central African Republic (CAR) at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi at 4pm.
The Black Stars played out a 1-1 draw with the same side in June last year but are favourites to qualify from Group E.
They need at least a point from this game to achieve a 10th consecutive appearance at the continental showpiece.
Ghana boasts a hundred percent home record in the qualifiers, with wins over Madagascar and Angola with clean sheets.
Coach Chris Hughton’s Black Stars, after five qualifying matches, lead Group E with nine points; followed by second-placed Angola with eight points; CAR sits in third with seven points; and already eliminated Madagascar occupies the bottom spot with two points.
Like Ghana, CAR has enjoyed a respectable qualifying campaign for the first time in their history. They are a win away from a first-ever AFCON appearance, and Head Coach Raoul Savoy is ready to make history.
The 1-0 win over Angola in Kumasi in March forced fans to sit on the edges of their seats throughout the game.
That narrative must be different today. Hughton and his charges must show Ghanaians their true character.
Heading into the game, Coach Hughton’s side has been bedeviled with injuries to key players, including Thomas Partey, Daniel Amartey, Mohammed Salisu, Majeed Ashimeru and Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Further to this, skipper Andre Dede Ayew is without a club at the moment, a development that has drawn concerns over his match fitness.
In the face of these uncertainties, the side is welcoming back Atletico Bilbao and Bournemouth strikers Inaki Williams and Antoine Semenyo – both missed the last outing against Madagascar.
Gladly, Baba Abdul Rahman, Gideon Mensah, and Alexander Djiku are back to strengthen the defence just as Baba Iddissu, Elisha Owusu, and Ransford-Yeboah Koningsdorffer, are returning to boost the midfield.
Coach Hughton would us this game for the ultimate results and to qualify for the 2023 AFCON, and nothing less.
“We have all to play for today, and we will put our shoulders to the wheel and make sure we get the desired results.”
Coach Savoy is also faced with injury worries ahead of the game as his skipper and most influential player, Olympique Marseille midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, is out due to injury.
Also out of the clash is first-choice goalkeeper Dominique Youfeigane due to suspension. Coach Savoy believes their absence is a great loss to the team.
He has described the game as the biggest for his side in the group, which makes it a very tough assignment but are motivated by the huge reward at stake.
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Publish date : 2023-09-07 14:36:21