2021 AFCON Qualifiers: Ghana vs South Africa – Preview
The Black Stars of Ghana will lock horns with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in a 2021 AFCON qualifier Group C game on Thursday evening.
The Black Stars have not been active since their ill-fated 2019 AFCON campaign in Egypt whilst the Bafana Bafana have played a series of friendly games prior to this encounter.
Games between the two countries have always been crunch since their first meeting on January 31st, 1996 in which Ghana was battered 3-0. The Rainbow country proved to be Ghana’s bogey side four years later as a Siyabonga Nomvethe 42nd minute header knocked Ghana out on home soil on February 6, 2000 in an AFCON quarterfinals game.
Ghana started redeeming their image against South Africa in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers where the four-time African champions beat them 5-0 on aggregate over two legs.
Another defeat was also inflicted on the Bafana Bafana on January 27, 2015 in the AFCON as Ghana came from behind to win 2-1 at the Estadio de Mongomo in Equatorial Guinea.
Currently, Ghana football is under new direction after going through one and half years of turmoil. Is not going to be easy as the Black Stars go into this battle with no major adequate preparation.
South Africa, on the other hand, have shown that they can defeat any side on the continent no matter the venue. They knocked out host nation Egypt who boast of the dreaded Mohammed Salah from the AFCON on home soil and this should be a wake-up call for Ghana that the game will be tough.
On paper, with the exception of the Ayew Brother’s who are in a rich vein of form in the English first and second-tier leagues respectively as well as Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid, many of the other players called are featuring for mediocre teams with some also on poor form.
The South Africans don’t have any big-name players but they play as a complete unit with the likes of Bogdani Zungu, Kermit Erasmus, Percy Tau of Club Brugge, Thulani Hlatshwayo and others all in top form and ready to die for the nation.
On the bench, Molefe Ntseki no doubt is tactically ahead of Kwesi Appiah as he is able to read the game and explore the weakness of opponents as he did against Egypt in the AFCON.
Ghana might well count on home advantage but with Kwesi Appiah being tactically bankrupt and the Black Stars players being dormant in relations to national team assignments, the best could be a draw for the West African nation.