The Black Meteors of Ghana will be squaring off with the Young Bafana Bafana of South Africa this afternoon at the famous Cairo International Stadium in the ongoing Africa U-23 Cup of Nations
This is the 3rd place playoff game and both teams still have a chance to qualify their countries to the 2020 Olympic Games which will be staged in Tokyo, Japan.
Ghana finished second in Group B with four points after beating Mali in their last penultimate group fixture despite losing and drawing to host nation Egypt and Cameroon respectively in their previous group games.
South Africa on the other hand have not been bad in the competition notably that slim victory they recorded over the young Elephants in their second game of the group phase. Again, the Young Bafana Bafanas drew with both Zambia and Nigeria which placed them second of the Group B table with five points.
Coach Ibrahim Tanko and his lads fought very hard against neighbours Ivory Coast in the semi finals sending the game to extra time after a 2-2 drawn game. Unfortunately, they lost 3-2 on penalties and that delayed their chances of booking a place in the 2020 Olympic Games.
On the hand, South Africa were humiliated by Egypt in the second semi final game by 3-0. Coach David Notoane and his charges will have to put in much effort this afternoon to beat their Ghanaian counterparts in order to land themselves an Olympic Games slot in the 2020 edition.
Ghana have been without Olympic Games football since 2004 Olympics which was held in Athens, Greece. The team now look desperate to qualify this time around to end the county’s 15 year drought.
The Young Bafana Bafanas have made it to two Olympic Games soccer appearances with their first participation coming in the year 2000 which took place in Australia. Also, they appeared in the last edition which was held in Brazil in 2016.
The winner of the third place game this afternoon will earn an automatic qualification to the 2020 Olympic Games. The losing team however will have another chance to play with a country from the Asian Confederation in a playoff game and the winner will also qualify to the Olympics.
By: Iddriss Abdul Rahim