Ghana's Quest to Break AFCON Title Drought

Can Ghana Break Their AFCON Title Drought

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The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) offers Ghana a chance to end their long-standing title drought in the competition. The Black Stars have not lifted the trophy since 1982 but will be hoping to make amends this year.

In this post, we’ll analyze Ghana’s prospects in the upcoming tournament. We’ll look at their group stage opponents, recent AFCON record, squad strengths and weaknesses, expectations, and more.

Overview of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)

The 2023 AFCON is set to kick off on January 13 in Ivory Coast. As one of Africa’s heavyweights, Ghana has qualified for their 23rd appearance in the competition. They have won the tournament four times previously (in 1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982).

Ghana find themselves in Group B alongside Egypt, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. Navigating this group will be critical to their chances of making a deep run.

Ghana in Group B: A Look at the Competition

Ghana face stiff competition right from the group stage. Seven-time champions Egypt pose the biggest threat, having never failed to qualify for the knockout phase. Cape Verde will also fancy their chances, having reached the quarter-finals in 2021.

Mozambique looks the easiest opponent, but they could spring a surprise. Ghana must hit the ground running to top the group and gain momentum.

Past Performance: Ghana’s Recent AFCON Track Record

Ghana’s recent AFCON showings paint a bleak picture regarding their title chances. They crashed out in the group stage in 2021 and suffered a last-16 exit in 2019.

The Black Stars have not reached the quarter-finals since 2017 and have struggled to make an impact in recent editions. To break this drought, they must find consistency fast.

Key Moments: The Journey to Qualification

A significant moment en route to qualification came in July 2022, when Ghana beat the Central African Republic 2-1 courtesy of a last-gasp winner. The victory highlighted the team’s determination and never-say-die attitude.

The comeback win also sealed their place at the 2023 tournament. However, celebrating qualification is one thing, thriving at the competition itself is another.

Strengths and Weaknesses: Analyzing the Ghanaian Squad

Captain Andre Ayew will be making a record eighth AFCON appearance. His leadership and experience could prove invaluable. The squad also boasts a blend of youth and experience, with the likes of Mohammed Kudus and Daniel Amartey also involved.

However, notable absentees like Thomas Partey and Tariq Lamptey weaken the side. Partey, in particular, leaves a gaping hole in midfield that could be exploited.

Absentees Impact: The Effect of Missing Key Players

Besides Partey and Lamptey, Ghana have other injury issues disrupting preparations. Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu is also absent.

With Partey injured, Ghana lack someone to dictate play from deep midfield. Someone of his quality could make the difference in a tight game.

Lamptey also misses out, depriving Ghana of width and penetration from right-back. Together, these absentees represent a significant blow.

Betting Odds and Predictions for Ghana at AFCON 2023

The bookmakers view Ghana as outsiders, pricing them at 15/1 to win the tournament. Their recent AFCON record makes this unsurprising.

However, some value exists in backing them to reach the quarter-finals at 13/10. They should progress from their group, and an upset in the first knockout round is conceivable.

Potential Game Changers in the Team

Despite the doubts, Ghana possesses several potential game-changers. Ayew brings big-game experience, while the likes of Jordan Ayew and Kudus could produce moments of magic.

Much could hinge on the form of Kamaldeen Sulemana. The electric winger can terrorize defenses with his pace and trickery. If he shines, Ghana becomes a much more dangerous proposition.

Realistic Goals and Expectations for Ghana

Given the competition, Ghana should set realistic rather than lofty targets. Reaching the quarter-finals would mark clear progress from recent campaigns.

The focus should center on restoring pride in the shirt and making incremental improvements. The foundation must be laid for future success.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead for the Black Stars

Ghana’s path to AFCON glory looks arduous given their group stage opponents and injury issues. However, they possess enough quality within their ranks to defy expectations.

Reaching the last eight should be the baseline target. If they achieve that, and the squad gels effectively, they could go deeper into the knockout rounds.

The Ghanaians may fall short of ultimate glory. But a solid performance could kickstart their revival and end this lengthy title drought further down the line.

Source: ghtodays.com

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