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Sports Features Tue, 27 Nov 2018

Sleeping giants on the rise in African football

Ghana are undoubtedly one of the biggest names in African football both at club level and on the international scene. The Black Stars have a rich history in the Africa Cup of Nations having won the title on four occasions and finished runners-up five times.

The Ghanaians are on the verge of qualifying for the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon. It will be their 22nd overall appearance in the continental showpiece and the eighth time in a row.

Following the suspension of Sierra Leone, Ghana have played just three matches in the Group F qualifying campaign. They are second with six points, one behind leaders Kenya ahead of what will be a shootout against the East Africans for top spot in their final match.

Ghana’s destiny is in their own hands and they will go into the clash against Kenya knowing a win will secure a place at next year’s tournament. They have had a solid campaign so far, claiming two wins and suffering one defeat from their three matches.

The Black Stars began the qualifiers in fine style as they secured an emphatic 5-0 victory at home against Ethiopia. However, that win was quickly followed by a disappointing 1-0 defeat away at Kenya.

Ghana were without several key players for much of the campaign as the likes of Ayew brothers - Andre and Jordan - opted to stay away from the national team. However, both men ended their exile in time to feature in the last qualifying match against Ethiopia.

The return of the Ayew brothers was a major boost for Kwesi Appiah's team as Jordan struck twice in a 2-0 over the Ethiopians. Ghana have played one match less than Kenya who are waiting on a CAF verdict on Sierra Leone to confirm their place in Cameroon.

The Black Stars are on a 37-year trophy drought on the continent having won their last title in 1982. They have been plagued by administrative and disciplinary problems in recent years which has hampered their performance in major competitions.

However, there are signs that they may be returning to their glory years following fine showings in recent competitions. Ghana have qualified for the last eight editions of the AFCON and progressed from the group stage each time.

They have also reached the final of the competition twice in the last eight years having been beaten by Egypt in 2010 and Cameroon in 2015.

Ghana have a talented squad of players with the likes of Andre and Jordan Ayew, Christian Atsu and Kwadwo Asamoah all plying their trade in top clubs across Europe. There are many who feel that this group of players have the potential to return the Black Stars to their glory years.

Ghana will fancy their chances of breaking their 37-year hoodoo next year in Cameroon but must first overcome the Kenyan hurdle at home.

Get all the previews of Ghana’s matches and other AFCON qualifiers at FreeTips.com where you will find comprehensive coverage of the African Cup of Nations in 2019.

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com
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