The Black Stars of Ghana will be welcoming the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in a herculean clash this evening at the Cape Coast Stadium in the first round of games in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Black Stars commenced their camping on Monday in Accra before moving to the Coastal city where the game is going to be held on Tuesday. The team trained under floodlights on Tuesday since the game will be played in the evening.
The atmosphere and euphoria the Black Stars have gotten especially at Winneba en route to Cape Coast is just a wonderful eye seeing. The team again visited the University of Cape Coast where they were also given a heroes welcome by the students.
This clearly gives the team enough motivation they will need heading into this crucial clash tonight and will also prove that indeed the “Bring back the love” message to Ghanaians is really yielding something.
The Bafana Bafanas landed in Ghana on Monday night instead of Tuesday as scheduled earlier just to acclimatize quickly for the game. The team after landing at the Kotoka International Airport completed another two hour bus journey en route to Cape Coast.
The team landed with 25 players headed by head coach Molefi Ntseki. They held a mandatory training at the match venue thus the Cape Coast stadium on Tuesday. Key players which include Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba and others have all joined the team’s camp in the coastal city and will be available for selection tonight.
RECENT AFCON PERFORMANCE
The Black Stars in the just ended AFCON got eliminated in the round of sixteen by the Carthage Eagles despite amassing 5 points in a Group that comprised of then defending champions, Cameroon, Benin and Guinea Bissau.
However, the Bafana Bafanas really struggled before they could qualify from their group that had Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia. At a point they had to finish as one of the third best place teams but astonishingly, they eliminated the host nation Egypt thanks to Thembinkosi Lorch’s second half goal.
In the quarter final and of course their last stage of the tournament, they were beaten 2-1 by the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Both countries last competitive fixture was in the Group Stages of the 2015 AFCON where Andre Ayew’s late winner propelled the Black Stars to complete a comeback over the Bafana Bafanas.
Again, both countries squared off against each other in a preparatory game in Dubai prior to the 2019 AFCON, it finished goalless at the end.
The Black Stars were hit with series of injuries heading into this crucial game. Mubarak Wakaso, Harrison Afful, Mohammed Salisu all pulled out of the qualifiers due to injury meanwhile Paderborn O7 winger, Christopher Antwi Adjei also couldn’t make it due to passport issues.
On the other hand, the South Africans will also be missing Mamelodi Sundowns pollster boy Themba Zwani due to injury but the rest of the team are all fit and poised for the big game tonight.
STILL IN GROUP C
Elsewhere in Omdurman, Sudan thumped Sao Tome and Principe by 4-0 to move top of Group C. Both Ghana and South Africa will take on Sundan and Sao Tome on November 17 and 18 respectively in the second round of games of the ongoing AFCON 2021 qualifiers.
By: Iddriss Abdul Rahim