It’s that time of the year were African national teams meet to showcase their talent in the AFCON tournament. The Confederation of African Football has announced that attendances during the Africa Cup of Nations will be capped at 80% for host nation Cameroon’s fixtures and 60% for other games due to Covid.
Group C’s match opener would be between Morocco and four-time champions Ghana. Ghana on Monday would begin their search for a fifth Nations Cup trophy after coming close three times to clinch the trophy since 1982. The euphoria surrounding this match hasn’t been great in Ghana as compared to previous tournaments the team has participated.
Ghana has not been in their best of forms but you cannot write them off in the continental showpiece. A good start on Monday would raise the hope of Ghanaians to at least consider the team to end the country’s 40-years trophy drought. 17 Ghanaian players would be making their debut in this competition.
For Morocco, the same cannot be said about them. They have been in good shape as compared to the Black Stars after they were eliminated at the round 16th stage in the last edition of the competition. They are in contention to improve upon their previous performances in the AFCON tournament and a good start on Monday would help them achieve that.
Fans of the Atlas Lions are ready to cheer their team up and they highly believe this squad would help the team achieve better results in Cameroon.
Doubt about Ajax star Mohammed Kudus still exist as to whether the midfielder would be able to feature in this tournament. The player is currently training with his club side as he looks to regain match fitness since his injury against South Africa in the World Cup qualifier back in November.
Mubarak Wakaso, who has scored five goals in the AFCON tournament is also doubtful to feature on Monday for the Black Stars.
Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace who is an integral member of the squad is also not fit and a late fitness test before the game would be assessed before he can feature on Monday.
Positive news coming from the camp of the Black Stars is that young prodigy, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku who sustained a knock against Algeria last Wednesday is fully fit. The attacking-minded midfielder is in contention for Ghana’s first AFCON assignment against Morroco.
Morocco on the other hand have their full squad available for selection against Ghana. Head coach, Vahid Halilhodzic would have the opportunity to field his preferred starting line-up against the west African side.
In the absence of Chelsea star, Hakim Ziyech, Boufal is the player being tipped via multiple sources to fill that void for the Atlas Lions.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Venue: Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium
Date: Monday, January 10
Time: 16:00 BST
For the first time in many years, Ghana would be going into a tournament without an identity after going through major transitions before Rajevac was appointed. Ghana isn’t in a good spell in terms of technical and physical ability but a typical Ghanaian side grows during competitions.
The Black Stars should be aware of the threat the Moroccans possess in terms of their attack and should be able to break their opponent’s. There should be quick transition from the Ghanaian side, constant press and also need to keep the ball long enough for a purpose.
The Moroccans will come into this game with the mentality of stealing the show, pressing well, possessing the ball and creating a lot chances. They are a side that scores a lot of goals given the chances.
They are adapted to either play the 3-5-2 system or 4-3-3 system with an aggressive attacking play committing a lot of players into the opponent’s half.
PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS TO FEATURE IN THIS MATCH:
Morocco – Romain Saiss, Imran Louza and Adam Masina.
Romain Saiss has been instrumental at the back for Wolverhampton Wanderers this season and he would be very key to this Moroccan Side when they come up against Ghana.
Ghana- Daniel Amartey, Thomas Partey and Jordan Ayew.
Thomas Partey of Arsenal may have not been impressed in the sights of football fans in the Premier League but his fine form in recent weeks has helped Arsenal to be amongst the top for teams on the league table currently.
Jordan Ayew may not be enjoying a good period in front of goal as he would have liked for Crystal Palace but his hard work and contributions cannot be neglected. He will be in contention to Ghana secure a win over Morocco on Monday.
Morocco: Bounou, Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Masina; Amrabat, Louza, Barkok; Mmaee, El Kaabi, Munir.
Ghana: Wollacott, Yiadom, Djiku, Amartey, Baba Rahman; Baba Iddrissu, Partey, Andre Ayew; Issahaku, Jordan Ayew, Painstil.
Morocco 1-1 Ghana