HomeNewsGhana Aiming to End Title Drought in the Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana Aiming to End Title Drought in the Africa Cup of Nations

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is just around the corner, with the tournament scheduled to start on Saturday, January 13, in Ivory Coast. 

West African giants Ghana will participate in the 34th edition of the continent’s most prestigious competition.

However, as the Black Stars aim for their fifth title and first since 1982, the question on everyone’s lips is – can they win the 2023 AFCON?

Ghana are in Group B alongside Egypt, Cape Verde and Mozambique. Former Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Houghton and his team face fierce competition right from the group stage. 

Seven-time AFCON champions Egypt pose a major threat. The Pharaohs will make it difficult for Ghana to top their group.

Ghana’s recent AFCON performances do little to boost their case for outright victory. The Black Stars crashed out of Group C in the 2021 edition and were eliminated in the last-16 in 2019. 

They will be looking to improve on these showings, but the competition in African football has grown more intense over the years.

One of the key moments leading to Ghana’s qualification for the 2023 AFCON was a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over the Central African Republic in July. 

West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus and substitute Ernest Nuamah were the heroes, securing Ghana’s place in the tournament. 

However, this victory against less fancied opponents doesn’t necessarily translate to success against stronger and more experienced teams that await them in the competition.

Ghana’s recent track record in the competition also raises doubts about their ability to go all the way. The Black Stars have not reached the last eight since 2017 and haven’t won it in over four decades.

The team has talent and potential. But competing against Mohamed Salah-led Egypt, hosts Ivory Coast, champions Senegal, eternal rivals Nigeria and World Cup semi-finalists Morocco is a different ball game altogether.

These teams have the know-how and will be looking to make deep runs at the tournament. Ghana’s recent form in other competitions is also a cause for concern.

The team reached the African Nations Championship quarter-final but suffered a defeat to Niger, showing vulnerabilities that stronger teams could exploit. 

Friendly matches against Liberia, United States and Mexico brought mixed results, and the inconsistency in performances may hinder their chances of lifting the trophy.

Looking at the squad selected for the tournament, Ghana boasts a mix of experienced players and promising talents. 

Captain Andre Ayew is set to feature at a record-equalling eighth AFCON tournament. He brings leadership and experience to the team.

However, notable absences like such as Thomas Partey and Tariq Lamptey may hamper Ghana. Partey will leave a void in the team’s ability to control games. He provides crucial defensive cover that will be missed. 

Lamptey’s absence could also weaken the team as he gives them an attacking thrust from the full-back area. He has struggled with injuries this term and will be a big miss for the Black Stars.

The odds are stacked against Ghana, with bookmakers giving them a 15/1 chance of winning the title. Despite this, punters in some betting jurisdictions will be willing to take a chance on them.

This includes sports bettors in the United Kingdom and Ireland, who are familiar with several members of the Ghana squad due to their exploits in major European leagues.

The odds on the the best betting app platforms in Ireland to win the tournament could be decent value if the team performs at its best and a deep run is not beyond the realms of possibility.

The Black Stars have a talented pool of players, including Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew and Daniel Amartey, who can make significant contributions on the field. 

The squad’s blend of experience and youth creates a platform for growth and development. Rather than focusing solely on winning the tournament, Ghana will set realistic goals for a deep run. 

Advancing past the group stage and reaching the quarter-finals would be a notable achievement, given the competitive nature of the tournament. 

This approach allows the team to build confidence and gain valuable experience, laying the foundation for future success.

The betting odds may be stacked against Ghana winning the 2023 AFCON, but it is crucial to recognise the team’s potential to surprise people.

The journey begins in a challenging group, and success will depend on how well the Black Stars navigate through formidable opponents. 

Ghana should aim for the last eight as a minimum, focusing on incremental progress and the development of a competitive squad that can contend for glory in the years to come.

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