Ghana vs Benin
Ismailia Stadium, Ismailia
Tuesday, 25-06-2019 @11pm
ISMAILIA – Ghana will be out for a fast start at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, when they take on Benin in their opening Group F game on Tuesday night.
The Black Stars have consistently finished among the top four at African football showpiece and that will be their primary target for the tournament.
Since 2008, Ghana have reached the last four, losing two finals in the process, in 2010 and 2015.
Despite the semi-finals’ appearances, the Black Stars have failed to win an AFCON title since last doing so in Libya 1982.
It is sort of a burden for Ghanaians especially with another golden generation, late in their careers.
Whether they can skip the hurdle this time round, remains to be seen but they will be eager to at least reach the final once again.
Ghana qualified for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations by topping their qualifying group ahead of Kenya. They have an excellent recent record of going deep into the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations having reached at least the semi-finals in each edition since 2008.
Ghana arrived in Cairo on Friday after a three-week training camp in the United Arab Emirates where they rounded off their preparations with a 0-0 draw against South Africa.
The relationship between their record goalscorer Asamoah Gyan and the coach has been in the spotlight with Gyan having retired from international football in March after the captaincy of the national team was taken away from him, only to reverse his decision a day later after the country’s president urged him to reconsider.
Meanwhile, Benin have made this tournament despite facing Algeria and Togo in qualifying.
However, they booked their place with three home wins, while they took one point on the road and scored only one goal.
Benin isn’t the biggest side at the tournament, while they are clearly a team who could struggle to adapt to playing in Egypt.
They’ve warmed up with back to back friendly victories, while there are no names which jump out from their squad.
They have yet to win a match at the Africa Cup of Nations with one draw and eight defeats from their previous nine matches.
Benin’s most capped player and captain Stephane Sessegnon, who now plays in Turkey for Genclerbirligi, is suspended this game due to an accumulation of yellow cards picked up during their qualifying campaign.
Benin and Ghana have met each other on six occasions.
The Black Stars have succumbed to defeat on only one occasion, the match ending 1-0 in Benin’s favour.
Ghana have managed to win by four goals or more on two instances.
Their last encounter, which was in 2017, finished in a draw at 1-1, with both goals coming in the first half.
The other game on Tuesday
-Cameroon vs Guinea-Bissau
-Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa
-Tunisia 1-1 Angola
-Mali 4-1 Mauritania