U23 AFCON: Black Meteors ready to upset host Egypt today
It wasn’t the best of starts for the Black Meteors as they opened their Africa U23 Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-1 stalemate against Cameroon last Friday.
Ghana U23 were second best on the night and had defender Habib Mohammed to thank for reacting quickest to a loose ball to score and snatch a draw.
However, they will have to produce an improved performance when they face off against host nation Egypt in the second group game on Monday night.
Black Meteors cannot afford to drop points against the Egyptians. They need a win to boost their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals and keep their Olympic Games dream alive.
The Egyptians head into the game high on confidence having beaten Mali 1-0. They will also have the crowd behind them at the Cairo International Stadium.
Head coach Ibrahim Tanko believes the partisan home crowd will make the game for difficult.
“Playing against the host nation won’t be easy because they have the fans on their side but we are ready for the game against Egypt and we are going for a win,” Tanko said at the pre-match press conference, as reported by his FA’s official website.
He, however, assured that his players are ready for the task and will deliver three points.
“The players know what’s at stake. This is the second game and it’s against the host nation. I am sure my players are ready.
“We’ve told the players to be ready for a difficult match. Egypt has a good team and we saw that in their first match.
“I’ve watched the Egyptian team twice and we will continue to work on our game plan.
“We will not only work on winning the match but we promise to make the game attractive for the fans.”
Ghana’s last group game will be against Mali on Thursday.
The top two teams at the end of the group stage qualify for the semi-final while the ultimate tournament champions, runners-up and bronze medallists get rewarded with tickets to represent Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
Making their debut at Afcon since the tournament’s inception in 2011, the Black Meteors have not qualified for the Olympics since 2004.