If the Black Stars of Ghana are to leave the wilderness of Afcon drought, then they would have to go through the Egyptians on Thursday night.
Ghana are yet to add to their four continental titles since 1982 and hopes of a 5th one hugely rest on how well they fare against the most dominant side in the competition’s history, Egypt.
Despite starting their quest on a sour note by going down 2-1 against unfancied Cape Verde in their Group B clash, skipper of The Black Stars reveals their ambition remains unchanged:
“It’s a huge tournament for us. As a team the last tournament was very difficult but being in a lot of tournaments, I think there were a lot of things that happened for it to go that way. But we need to learn from it and make sure that it doesn’t happen again, whether it is on the pitch or off the pitch.
Yes it’s true that this is my eighth AFCON. I have been sitting here a few times for a few years now. The ambition hasn’t changed. Since I started from day one in 2008, I have always had the ambition to make sure that we are able to bring the trophy home one day. We always come with that ambition but we can’t promise it. What we can do is to make sure we give everything that we can day by day, game by game, take our time.
We have seen a lot of teams win this tournament without any dogs’ chance and we have seen teams who were expected to win and indeed they won. But one thing I know is that in this tournament you can’t predict anything and if you can’t predict anything then the doors are open for everyone and when the doors are open, we need to slide in. We don’t have to give no chances, and I believe that the squad is determined and our vision is to win the next game and from then we will see how to take it to the next one”.
With Egypt needing a Mohammed Salah late penalty to salvage a point in their own opener against Mozambique on Monday, Thursday’s clash between both sides at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan would be a make or break encounter for either country.
But it seems the Ghanaians have their work cut out for them, having won just twice in their last 15 matches against Egypt and only 5 of their previous 23 overall meetings with the 7-time champions, losing a whooping 12 and the other 6 ending in stalemates.
It was a 1-1 draw the last time both sides crossed paths in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which the Pharoahs eventually edged their West African foes 3-1 on aggregate.
With the form and history books pointing towards the North Africans, Egypt will head into the tie as firm favourites, having not lost any of their last 4 matches against their Thursday opponents, winning 3 of those in the process and also suffering defeat once in their last 15 matches across all competitions with 12 victories to their name.
A sharp contrast for the Black Stars who have only one victory in 6 matches and have failed to score in four of those, recording 3 defeats in the process. More shocking is the fact that Ghana have won just once in their last 10 Afcon matches, losing a whooping 6 in that time.
Both teams will certainly give it their all in this huge battle between two of most successful Afcon sides, if they’re to ursurp minnows Cape Verde who lead Group B with 3 points from their opening game.
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