Giants Ghana fight to avoid early Afcon elimination

Ghana's forward Jordan Ayew vies for the ball with Gabon's midfielder Junior Assoumou

Ghana's forward Jordan Ayew (centre) vies for the ball with Gabon's midfielder Junior Assoumou (left) during their Group 'C' Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2021 match at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on January 14, 2022.
 

Photo credit: Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Coach Norman Mapeza told a press conference in Yaounde on Monday that they will go into the game with a positive mindset to correct the errors of the previous games.
  • “We were able to hold Senegal and conceded during the last 20 seconds of the game through a penalty, but there were some positives there,” the coach said.
  • However, Guinea who sit at the top of the group with four points are predicted winners as they come to the game winless in two previous group games.

The quest for round of 16 spots at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations continue Tuesday with teams in Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ in action.

Ghana will lock horns with newcomers Comoros in their final group fixture and the Black Stars, who have been winless in their two previous group matches, will need all three points of the game to keep their qualification chances alive.

The four-time champions lost their first group game to Morocco 1-0, before conceding a late equaliser against Gabon at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde on Friday.

Friday’s game ended with a brawl during which Ghanaian striker, Benjamin Tetteh, punched a Gabonese player after the final whistle and was red carded despite escaping into the tunnel.

CAF has suspended Tetteh for three matches and the Black Stars will play their must-win last group game at the Roumdé Adjia Stadium in the Cameroon northern city of Garoua without him.

Debutants Comoros also have all to play for as a win would give them a slight chance of being among the best four third-placed teams.

Back at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Morocco and Gabon will go head-to-head as the first and second place teams of Group ‘C’ target top spot. Both should however progress to the round of 16 albeit the outcome of the last group fixture.

There will also be action in Group ‘B’ where group leaders Guinea and second placed Senegal need just draws to advance to the knockout stage.

But Malawi, Senegal’s opponents, who are also in dire need of victory may not leave anything to chance as they face the Teranga Lions in their last group fixture at the Bafoussam Onisport stadium in Kouekong.

In their 16th appearance, Senegal who are Africa’s top football nation according to Fifa ranking are 34 places ahead of Malawi, who are listed 35th on the continent. 

However, on the group table, Senegal are second with four points (just like leaders Guinea) from two matches, while Malawi are third with three and they come to the game buoyed by their 2-1 come from behind victory over bottom placed Zimbabwe in Bafoussam on Friday.

Zimbabwe might have been eliminated, but will also want to bow out on high and thus frustrate Guinea’s dreams when both lock horns at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde in their last Group ‘B’ encounter.

Coach Norman Mapeza told a press conference in Yaounde on Monday that they will go into the game with a positive mindset to correct the errors of the previous games.

“We were able to hold Senegal and conceded during the last 20 seconds of the game through a penalty, but there were some positives there,” the coach said.

However, Guinea who sit at the top of the group with four points are predicted winners as they come to the game winless in two previous group games.

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