As the African Cup of Nations approaches us faster by the day, we want to take a look at the notable nations heading to the tournament and how they will fare in Egypt.
We’ve already looked at the two favourites, Egypt and Senegal, so naturally we will look at the third favourites and another huge contender, Ghana. Under Kwesi Appiah, the four time champions head into the tournament with optimism under new captain Andre Ayew.
Ghana have certainly one of the most varied and interesting squads heading to AFCON this summer, with players turning out for a range of clubs from Atletico Madrid to Hearts of Oak, a club in the heart of Ghana’s capital, Accra.
Thomas Partey (the aforementioned Atleti star) will be a huge influence for the Black Stars with this being his first major tournament. In his 17 caps, he’s hit seven goals including a superb hattrick against Congo in the World Cup qualifiers.
What promises more for Ghana is the prominence of three domestic players in their provisional 29 man squad. Felix Annan and Abdul Fatawu both feature for title challengers Asante Kotoko, and Mohamed Alhassan from Accra’s Hearts of Oak.
Annan is a star between the sticks, conceding just 17 in 20 Ghanaian Premier League matches for the Porcupines this season, whilst Fatawu and Alhassan both feature in the midfield for their respective sides.
Ghana’s recent history in the competition leaves a lot to be desired though, with Appiah’s men losing their last two finals in 2010 and 2015, to Egypt and then Ivory Coast.
Finally their manager, former international and Kotoko fullback Kwesi Appiah, is an experienced manager at this level, and replaced former Chelsea manager Avram Grant at the helm in 2015. Appiah became the first Black African head coach to lead their national team to a World Cup, with Ghana qualifying in 2014 in Appiah’s first spell. They exited in the group stages though, leading to Appiah’s departure by mutual consent.
Ghana could be outside challengers for the tournament but I can see them heading out quite early with the lack of real tournament experience in their squad. They could certainly prove me wrong though! Glory for Ghana, or Agony for the Ayew’s? We shall see in June!