THE TEAM NEWS
- Ghana start their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign at home to South Africa in their first competitive match since disappointingly losing on penalties against Tunisia in the last 16 at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt last July.
- They have an excellent record of qualifying for the finals having only failed to do so on one occasion since 1990 and are the highest ranked team in a group also containing Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe.
- Coach Kwesi Appiah has called up seven new faces to his squad including Spanish based players Mohammed Salisu of Real Valladolid and Real Mallorca’s Iddrisu Baba. The Ayew brothers Jordan and team captain Andre are in the squad and are both expected to start.
- South Africa face their toughest challenge of their qualifying group first up as they travel to face group favourites Ghana in their opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.
- They had a good run to the quarter-finals at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final tournament in Egypt where they produced an shock 1-0 win against the host nation in the last 16. In the next game, they lost in heart-breaking fashion against Nigeria with a late winning goal deciding the match.
- South Africa are without the injured Themba Zwane but Sifiso Hlanti and Thamsanqa Mkhize both return to the squad after missing their last friendly match against Mali through injury.
Expectations will be high for Ghana as they start their qualifying campaign against South Africa, who are likely to be their closest rivals in the group, though with two spots up for grabs they are both expected to earn qualification ahead of Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe.
The South African coach has stated how he sees a point as a good result and it would be no shock if they played with a defensive mindset with the onus on Ghana to break them down.
Recent matches between these two nations have been very close and a low scoring draw is the prediction.
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