The Black Stars of Ghana, will chase a win as they face the Cranes of Uganda in a dicey encounter in the opening Group D clash, at the ongoing 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nation in Gabon.
Ghana will play Uganda on Tuesday 17 January, at the Stade de Port-Gentil at 4pm local time.
Ghana’s Coach Avram Grant faces a herculean task as his charges meet a side, who were unable to break when Ghana engaged Uganda at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate in Tamale, Ghana.
The Black Stars, will be one of the favourites in the tourney as they aim to clinch a fifth title after their last triumph 35 years ago.
Ghana, four times Continental Champions and appearing at the tourney for the 21st time, are chasing the trophy that has eluded the country for over three decades whiles their opponent, will prove a point for their return after 39 years absence. Ghana won it in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.
The Black Stars can boast of a rich history winning four titles, five times runners-up, one third-place finish and three fourth-place finishes, however, the team are chasing the trophy for the first time since 1982 to win back the love of Ghanaians after the unfortunate incident which happened in 2014 at the World Cup in Brazil. The pain and anguish is still fresh in the minds of supporters.
With this, Coach Grant’s side have no excuse than to win to the title but that huge task comes with hard work, determination and commitment to the course ahead.
Both teams meeting for the 14th time, Ghana has won four, lost three and drawn four in 13 outings. In the last three encounters, Uganda have managed to beat the West African side once and drawing the two. This indicates the Ugandans are no pushovers.
On Tuesday, while Ghana begin her campaign of winning the title, the East Africans on the other hand are hopeful of making an impressive return. Though on paper, the Black Stars looks favourite, the Cranes guided by Serbian Milutin Sredojovic could cause an upset to prove their qualification to the competition was well fought for.
Ghana who finished second in the last AFCON edition qualified unbeaten in a Group against Mozambique, Rwanda and Mauritius to reach the finals.
Experienced players to watch in the Ghanaian squad including Skipper Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Harrison Afful will bring on their experience, ability and skills to qualify the team from the Group stage but the Stars’ defense must be wary of Skipper Godfrey Massa the all-time top scorer in AFCON qualifiers for Uganda who on a good day can cause an upset.
The Black Stars are drawn in a tough Group D alongside World Cup rivals Egypt and Uganda as well as Mali.