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Profiling the AFCON teams: Ghana

Ghana have won four AFCON titles with the last coming in 1982. (PHOTO/AGENCIES)

Ghana will be featuring in their 22nd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and the 8th in a row since 2006. The Black Stars have won four AFCON titles before (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982).

In the 2019 edition, Ghana is in Group F alongside Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.

Ghana did not enter qualification for the first two AFCON tournaments in 1957 and 1959.

Their first attempt at qualification came in 1961, ending in disappointment.

The Black Stars would however book their ticket to the 1963 edition which was hosted in Ghana. It was memorable for Ghana as they went all the way and won it.

In the group stages, Ghana finished top of Group A after defeating Ethiopia and drawing against Tunisia. In the finals, they defeated Sudan 3-0 to be crowned winners of the competition.

Ghana successfully defended their crown in 1965, defeating Tunisia 3-2 after extra time in the final.

The success in 63 and 65 was followed up by two successive runners ups finishes, losing 1-0 to Congo Kinshasa in 1968 and losing to Sudan by the same score line in 1970.

From there, the Black Stars would fail to qualify for the next three editions between 1972 and 1976.

They returned to the finals’ tournament in 1978, winning their third AFCON title.

Ghana cruised through the group stages, winning two and drawing one of their three group A games before defeating Tunisia 1-0 in the semifinals.

In the final played at the Accra Sports Stadium, Ghana defeated Uganda 2-0 to win their third title.

The 1978 success could not be replicated in 1980 as Ghana failed to make it out of the groups.

Ghana’s 4th and last AFCON title to date came in the 1982 edition in Libya. The Black Stars finished second in Group A behind the hosts and went on to defeat Algeria 3-2 in the semis.

In the final, Ghana defeated Libya 7-6 in penalties to seal their 4th title.

Ghana sealed their 4th title in 1982.

Just like it was the case in 1980, Ghana’s attempts to defend their crown in 1984 were unsuccessful as they were eliminated at the Group stages.

The disappointment in 84 was followed up by humiliation as the Black Stars failed to reach the next three AFCON finals’ in 1986, 1988 and 1990.

They would however make a strong return to the finals in 1992, topping Group D in order to storm the last 8.

Ghana went on to take care of both Congo and Nigeria in the quarter and semis to reach the final for the first time since 1982.

In the final, they would however lose 10-11 to Ivory Coast in penalties, hence finishing second for the third time in the competition’s history.

The 1994 finals in Tunisia saw Ghana reach the quarter finals where they would lose 1-2 to Ivory Coast, ending their tournament in the last 8.

1996 would once again see the Black Stars reach the last four for the 7th time in the competitions’ history. Ghana won all their Group D matches before defeating Zaire in the quarters.

They would however lose 0-3 to eventual winners and host-South Africa in the semis and also went on to lose 0-1 to Zambia in the third place playoff match.

In 1998, Ghana were eliminated at the group stages before being knocked-out in the quarter finals of both the 2000 and 2002 editions.

Ghana would then go on and fail to qualify for the 2004 edition in Tunisia.

They returned to the competition in 2006, where they failed to negotiate through Group D which featured the likes of Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe, finishing 3rd with just three points.

From 2008 to date, Ghana has always been part of the last four.

In 2008, they lost 0-1 to Cameroon in the last four before defeating Ivory Coast 4-2 in the third place playoff to finish third in the competition.

For the 2010 edition in Angola, Ghana finished second in Group B behind Ivory Coast, defeated the hosts and Nigeria in the quarters and semis respectively before losing 0-1 to Egypt in the finals.

In 2012 and 2013, Ghana finished 4th in the competitions following loses to Zambia and Burkina Faso in the respective semifinals.

2015 once again saw Ghana reach the final of the tournament. They topped Group C ahead of Algeria, South Africa and Senegal, defeated Guinea in the quarters, took care of Equatorial Guinea in the semis and then losing 8-8 to Ivory Coast in the final.

For the 2017 edition in Gabon, the Black Stars progressed past the group stage, finishing second to Egypt in Group D. They defeated DR Congo 2-1 in the quarter finals but lost their semifinal match against Cameroon, 0-2.

In the third place playoff match, Ghana would once again lose 0-1 to Burkina Faso, finishing fourth in the competition.

Coach

Kwesi Appiah

Appiah is a Ghanaian coach and former player who has been manager of the Ghana men’s football national team since 2017.

Appiah has been head coach of Ghana since 2017.

He has received technical training from English clubs Man City and Liverpool. Appiah was Ghana’s assistant coach between 2007 and 2012.

He was also coach of the Ghana U23 as they won the 2011 All-Africa Games. He was appointed as the Head coach of Ghana in April 2012, His Ghana team qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, making him the first black African coach to take the country to the World Cup. He was given a new two-year contract in May 2014. After the country exited the World Cup in the group stages, Appiah defended his team.

He left his position as Ghana manager by mutual consent in September 2014. He became manager of Sudanese club Al Khartoum in December 2014.

In April 2017 he was re-appointed as the coach of the Ghana national team, replacing former Chelsea manager Avram Grant.

Star Player

Asamoah Gyan

Gyan is a Ghanaian striker who plays for Turkish side Kayserispor.

Gyan began his career in 2003 with Liberty Professionals then spent three seasons with Serie A side Udinese via two seasons’ loan at Modena.

In 2008, Gyan joined Rennes before switching to Sunderland in 2010, breaking the club’s transfer record.

In 2011, he joined Al Ain on loan and became the league’s top-goal scorer, scoring 24 times in 27 matches.

In the following season, Gyan permanently joined Al Ain and once again became the league’s top-goal scorer while he helped Al Ain retain the UAE Pro-League title, scoring an impressive 28 goals in 32 matches.

In the 2013/14 season, Gyan scored on 44 occasions in 40 matches with Al Ain.

Gyan is the all-time leading goal scorer for Ghana, with 51 goals. He represented Ghana at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.

Gyan is the record top scorer for Ghana.

With 6 goals, he is the top African goal scorer in the history of the World Cup. Gyan has also represented Ghana at the 2004 Summer Olympics and in seven Africa Cup of Nations in 06, 08, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 17.

Projection: Semi Final

Ghana’s fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Ghana vs Benin, 25nd June
-Cameroon vs Ghana, 29th June
-Ghana vs Guinea-Bissau, 02th July

Ghana’s 23-man squad for AFCON 2019

Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Maritzburg United, South Africa, Lawrence Ati- Zigi  (Sochaux, Montbeliard, France), and Felix Annan  (Asante Kotoko, Ghana).

Defenders: Andy Yiadom (Reading, England), Abdul Baba Rahman (Reims, France), Lumor Agbenyenu (Goztepe A.S, Turkey),  Kassim Nuhu, (Hoffeinham, Germany,) John Boye ( Metz France), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC, USA), Joseph Aidoo (Genk, Belguim), Joseph Attamah (Basaksehir, Turkey)

Midfielders: Mubarak Wakaso (Deportivo Alaves, Spain), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Kwadwo Asamoah (Internazionle, Italy), Afriyie Acquah  (Empoli, Italy), Andre Ayew ( Fenerbache, Turkey),  Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Samuel Owusu (Cukaricki, Serbia), Thomas Agyepong (Hibernian, Scotland)

Attackers: Asamoah Gyan (Kayserispor, Turkey), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace, England), Caleb Ekuban  (Trabzonspor, Turkey and Kwabena  Owusu (Leganes, Spain).

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