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AFCON 2023: Ghana begin campaign as underdogs for first time

Sports

1 month(s) ago
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The Black Stars of Ghana, once perennial favourites in African football, enter the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a new status as underdogs, marking a departure from their historic prominence on the continent.

Ghana's previous AFCON campaigns, particularly between 2008 and 2017, positioned them as strong contenders, consistently reaching the semi-finals and making it to the final twice (in 2010 and 2015).

However, the team's fortunes have dwindled since, culminating in a round of 16 exits in 2019 and a shocking group stage departure in the 2021 AFCON after a defeat to Comoros.

Their woes were further worsened when they lost twice and won once in the 2022 Word Cup leading to their early exit.

They have also failed to impress in subsequent matches despite managing to qualify for the AFCON. Their back-to-back defeats to the United States and Mexico also raised further concerns which were validated by their defeat to Comoros in their second 2026 World Cup qualifier in November.

As they kick off their 2023 AFCON campaign against Cape Verde, the Black Stars find themselves excluded from the list of tournament favorites, with predictions even suggesting a potential draw in their opening match against the Blue Sharks on Sunday at 8 pm local time.

Despite this shift in status, Ghana maintains a significant historical advantage over Cape Verde, boasting four victories and one defeat in their last five encounters. The team, led by coach Chris Hughton, is rated below Egypt in their group B standings and will face Mozambique in their subsequent group-stage match.

source: Ghanasoccernet.com