Ghana, Cameroon kick start AFCON 2019 campaign
London, June 25, 2019 (AltAfrica)– The Black Stars of Ghana and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, two of African football power house will begin their campaign in the ongoing African Cup of Nations today, Tuesday 25th of June 2019 in Egypt, the host country
While Cameroon, the defending champion will attempt to banish their internal difficulty and defend the tittle, The Black Stars of Ghana will seek to end a long Africa Cup of Nations trophy drought when they face Benin in a group F clash at Ismailia Stadium
The Lions are billed to face Guinea-Bissau in their opening game at the Ismailia Stadium on Tuesday, four days before taking on four-time champions Ghana. But they will have to do without the Maritimo ace in Egypt
The 25-year-old front-man, on the books of Portuguese club Maritimo, will miss the biennial showpiece after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
It is a huge blow to his hopes of playing at the Afcon finals for the first time, after netting eight times in 30 league appearances of which 24 starts were starts for his club last season.
Meanwhile, Ghana long regarded as one of the continent’s football powerhouses and a haul of four Afcon titles is only bettered by Egypt and Cameroon.
However, the last of those triumphs arrived way back in 1982 and the West African nation is growing more and more impatient for a return to glory.
The current Black Stars team earned their place in the 2019 Nations Cup by topping group F of the preliminaries, ahead of Kenya, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.
Their appearance at the last tournament in 2017 ended in the semifinals when they were ousted by eventual champions Cameroon.
Ghana are led by coach James Kwesi Appiah, who is currently in his second permanent tenure in charge of the team (his first included successful qualification for the 2014 World Cup).
His current crop of players includes established stars such as Asamoah Gyan, Jordan and Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey and Christian Atsu.
Benin, meanwhile, are making their fourth appearance at the Afcon and a first since the 2010 edition.
The Squirrels, who are led by coach Michel Dussuyer and feature the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and Steve Mounie, qualified as runners-up behind Algeria in their preliminary group.
In head-to-head stats, Ghana and Benin have met in 14 previous matches. The Black Stars have claimed seven wins compared to two for the Squirrels.
The teams’ most recent meeting was a 1-1 draw in an international friendly in May 2017.