With four titles at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the Black Stars of Ghana are the second most successful team in the competition’s long history, only behind seven-time winners, Egypt.
Ghana has failed to lift Africa’s most prestigious title since 1982!
The Black Stars have come extremely close to winning the competition since then, finishing second in 1992, 2010 and 2015. They lost two of these finals via penalty shoot-outs and they will want a change in fortunes in recent times.
Ghana will attempt to end their marathon wait for another AFCON championship when the next edition kicks off in Cameroon in 2022.
Leading the call to end Ghana’s trophy drought is the president of the country, Nana Akufo-Addo, who is not only expecting the national team to win the AFCON in 2022 but also reach the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the same year!
“The target is to bring the cup home by winning the AFCON 2022. We must go a step further than our second-place finishes in 1992, 2010 and 2015 and end the 40-year drought for a title”.
“We must also reach at least the semifinals of the World Cup in Qatar”, Akufo-Addo said in a recent meeting with GFA chiefs and high-ranking members of corporate Ghana.
Ghana’s best performance at the FIFA World Cup was their incredible quarter-final run in South Africa 2010, where they were an Asamoah Gyan penalty away from beating Uruguay and becoming the first African team to reach the semifinals.
However, they have struggled to replicate that run, crashing out in the group stage in Brazil 2014, and failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Black Stars also underperformed in the last AFCON in 2019, losing to Tunisia in the Round of 16 itself and the lofty expectations seem to be weighing heavily on one of the powerhouses of African football.
So how realistic is the president’s expectation of the Black Stars? Can they really finally win the AFCON in 2022?
Ghanaians will be encouraged by a comfortable qualifying campaign, where their team recorded 13 points from their six group games to finish on top of Group C that featured Sudan, South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe.
This will be extremely heartening as well because it was a tough group given that one of the good sides had to miss out with South Africa being on the receiving end, sadly.
The four points Ghana gained against South Africa over the two legs played a major role in Bafana Bafana’s failure to reach the AFCON finals that led to the sacking of Molefi Ntseki.
Given their history in the competition, and their rich football tradition, Ghana will always be one of the fancied nations at the AFCON. Before their Round of 16 exit in 2019, they had reached at least the semifinals in each of the previous six editions.
The Black Stars have definitely got match-winners in their squad, most notably the Ayew brothers (Andre and Jordan) and Arsenal’s Thomas Partey.
However, you cannot ignore the fact that there are some stronger teams on paper at the moment in Africa. Defending champions Algeria, highest-ranked African side Senegal, 7-time champions Egypt, Morocco and the Super Eagles of Nigeria are arguably above Ghana in the pecking order of potential AFCON 2022 champions.
Despite the passion and general optimism in Ghana, football bettors may be more inclined towards backing these other nations for the AFCON title on football betting sites in Ghana.
There is a lot that goes into winning the Africa Cup of Nations. You obviously need to have players and coaches that are good enough to win football matches, but success is dependent on many other factors.
If the Black Stars are to win the next AFCON, they will need to cut out the disciplinary and financial issues that have pushed the team back at the international level.
Good preparation and a little bit of luck on Ghana’s side can take them a long way in lifting the trophy in Cameroon.