With four titles at the Africa Cup of Nations, the Black Stars of Ghana are the second most successful team in the competition’s long history, behind seven-time winners, Egypt, but not since 1982 have the Stars lifted the prestigious title.
There have been several close shaves and near misses since then, with Ghana finishing second in 1992, 2010 and 2015, two of those finals defeats coming via penalty shoot-outs.
The Black Stars will attempt to end their marathon wait for another AFCON title when the next edition comes up in Cameroon in 2022.
Leading the clarion call to end Ghana’s trophy drought is the president of the country, Nana Akufo-Addo, who has not only charged the national team to win the Cup of Nations in 2022, but also to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.
“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 semi-finals 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 Africa team to reach the semi-finals.
However, they have since struggled to replicate that run, crashing out in the round-robin phase in Brazil 2014, and failing to qualify for the most recent Mundial in Russia 2018.
They also underperformed in the last AFCON in 2019, losing to Tunisia in the round of 16.
So how realistic is the president’s charge to the Black Stars? Can they really bring back the AFCON in 2022?
Ghanaians will be encouraged by a fairly smooth qualifying campaign, where their team recorded 13 points from six group matches to finish as group winners.
The four points they got against South Africa across the two legs played a major role in Banana Bafana’s failure to reach the AFCON.
Given their history in the competition, and their rich football tradition, Ghana will always be one of the fancied nations at the Cup of Nations. Before their Round of 16 exit in 2019, they had reached at least the semi-finals 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, there is no getting away from the fact that there are better teams in the continent at the moment. Algeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and 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 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 dogged the team in recent international competitions.
Add to that good preparation and a little bit of luck on their side, Ghana are very capable of going all the way in Cameroon.