Ghana face São Tomé and Príncipe later today as both sides return to action after contrasting starts to their 2021 AFCON qualifying campaigns.
The Black Stars earned a largely comfortable 2-0 win over South Africa on Thursday, with Thomas Partey and Kudus Mohammed getting on the scoresheet.
São Tomé and Príncipe, on the other hand, were on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline last Wednesday away against Sudan.
With South Africa beating Sudan in the other game, the Black Stars have a chance to take top spot while Sao Tome could pick up their first points of the qualifying series.
The win over South Africa was critical for coach Kwesi Appiah who had overseen the Black Stars’ exit from the 2019 AFCON last July.
With doubts being raised about his tactical ability, Appiah will have been pleased with not just the scoreline but his in-game management as his side kept the South Africans at bay for most of the match and should probably have picked up a larger result.
His use of the bench during the game would also have caught the eye, with his subs, particularly Kudus Mohammed, influencing the game positively.
São Tomé and Príncipe were thumped by Sudan last time out, having gone down to ten men at 1-0 down.
A difficult group and a bad start won’t help the Central African nation’s chances of making it to their first AFCON but a good result today against Ghana would definitely help their cause.
Today’s match will kick-off at 1:00pm GMT at the Estadio Nacional 12 de Julho, Sao Tome.
Coaches, players views
Ghana head coach Kwesi Appiah
Ghana’s head coach believes that despite suggestions that Ghana could be set for a goal-fest against their opponents, the match.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an easy game. I don’t believe in what people think; that São Tomé does not have a good team. There are about eight or nine Portuguese players and so it is a game we have to take it seriously. We go there and give our best and come out victorious”.
Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey
Partey expressed worry about the artificial pitch, stating that it could make matters more complicated for the Black Stars.
“We are going to play a very difficult match. We are not used to playing on artificial turfs but we are professionals and we have to get used to it and I think we are motivated enough and we have to do our best and get the win”.
This is the first time the Black Stars are facing São Tomé and Príncipe in a senior international match.
São Tomé and Príncipe
- The hosts have never made it to an AFCON tournament
- São Tomé and Príncipe have lost eight and won two of their last 10 games by a combined score of 20-10.
- Those two wins came against Mauritius in the previous qualifying round.
- Last Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Sudan was only the second time in seven matches that São Tomé and Príncipe have failed to score in a match
- The Black Stars have not lost a match in 90 minutes since a 1-0 loss to Kenya in the 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers
- The run spans eight matches with the Black Stars picking up five wins and three draws in that period.
- The Stars, however, did suffer a loss on penalties to Tunisiain last year’s AFCON.
- The Black Stars have won two of their last four away games (excluding friendlies), drawing one and losing one.