AFCON 2023: Ghana’s championship aspirations put to test against Cape Verde


Ghana is set to begin their pursuit of a fifth TotalEnergies CAF Cup of Nations title this Sunday, facing Cape Verde in their opening match of Group B at the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.

This encounter, steeped in history and anticipation, presents a fascinating clash of African footballing styles and strategies.

Historically, Ghana and Cape Verde have met only once in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, with Ghana emerging victorious in a 2-0 quarter-final win in the 2013 edition.

This time, Ghana, known as the Black Stars, enters the tournament with a rich legacy, making their 24th appearance, the third most in the history of the competition.

Despite their illustrious past, which includes four titles (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982), Ghana has faced a title drought in their subsequent 16 appearances since their last triumph.

Recent form indicates a challenging phase for the Ghanaians, who have only one win in their last nine AFCON matches, including a disappointing exit in the group stages of the last tournament.

However, the team’s resilience and talent, exemplified by Mohammed Kudus, who contributed to 50% of Ghana’s goals in the qualifiers, offer a glimmer of hope. Kudus’ performance will be crucial as Ghana aims to revive its former glory on the continental stage.

Cape Verde, on the other hand, enters its fourth AFCON appearance since 2013. Known for their tenacity, Cape Verde has an impressive record in the group stages, qualifying twice (2013, 2021) but never advancing past the knockout phase.

Notably, they have never lost an opening match at the tournament (W1 D2) and will be looking to maintain this record against the Ghanaians. Their team’s strength lies in its diversity, with eight different players scoring in the qualifiers for this year’s tournament.

Adding to the excitement is the potential for veteran Ghanaian footballer André Ayew to make history.

If he plays, this will be his eighth AFCON appearance, equaling the record held by Cameroon’s Rigobert Song and Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan. Moreover, a goal from Ayew would set a new record, making him the only player to score in seven different AFCON tournaments.

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