Ghana headline Thursday’s AFCON qualification action

Ghana headline Thursday’s AFCON qualification action
Jordan Pierre Ayew of Ghana and Manuel Luis Da Silva Cafumana of Angola challenge for possession during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Ghana and Angola held at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana on 23 March 2023 ©BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 07, 2023. 11:00

Ghana’s attempt to secure a spot at the next Africa Cup of Nations is the headline narrative of the qualification action on Thursday 7 September, which will see five matches played across the continent.

The Black Stars will welcome Central African Republic to the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi for an early-evening kick-off, and come into the match placed top of the Group E standings with nine points.

The West African heavyweights know that they need only avoid defeat to guarantee qualification. They could even afford to lose the match provided second-placed Angola don’t win their simultaneous clash at home to already-eliminated Madagascar – but coach Chris Hughton and his charges will surely want to keep their fate in their own hands.

As for CAR, this match represents the chance of a lifetime: a win will guarantee their first-ever qualification for the AFCON finals.

“We are not nervous. The squad are all professionals and we know that this game will be very important,” Wild Beasts coach Raoul Savoy explained.

“We have had time to talk about it and the technical staff have tried to keep the nervousness out of the camp. I know some players will feel fear and some will be excited. So I think we have to manage each player personally but all of them have prepared for the game in the most responsible way.”

Thursday will also decide the fate of East African rivals Uganda and Tanzania in simultaneous Group F night kick-offs – one of them will join group winners Algeria in the tournament. The Cranes must win ‘away’ to already-eliminated Niger in Marrakesh, while the Taifa Stars can guarantee qualification by avoiding defeat away to the Desert Foxes.

There is also a very realistic chance of the two East African teams ending level on points and head-to-head results, leaving goal difference and possibly even goals scored as the potential tie-breaking decider.

Thursday is rounded out by a night clash from Group J which sees already-qualified Tunisia welcome already-eliminated Botswana to the Hammadi Agrebi Stadium in Tunis.

AFCON fixtures, Thursday 7 September

Times CAT

18:00: Angola v Madagascar

18:00: Ghana v Central African Republic

21:00: Niger v Uganda

21:00: Algeria v Tanzania

21:00: Tunisia v Botswana

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