Ghana will be looking to begin their qualification campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on a high note when they host South Africa at Cape Coast Stadium on Thursday night.
Both teams featured at this year’s AFCON with the Black Stars suffering a round of 16 exit while Bafana Bafana were knocked out by Nigeria in the quarter-finals.
Black Stars head into this encounter having played no match in the last two FIFA international windows. South Africa, on the other hand, beat Mali 2-1 in October.
What is the kick off time?
The match will start at exactly 19:00 GMT.
Team news – Ghana
Kwesi Appiah will not have the chance to use debutants Mohammed Salisu and Christopher Antwi- Adjei for the qualifiers. Salisu pulled out the squad due to injury and Antwi-Adjei was not allowed to leave Germany due to passport issues.
Harrison Afful and Mubarak Wakaso have also withdrawn from the squad due to injuries. However, Afful and Wakaso have been replaced by Fatawu Mohammed and Gideon Mensah respectively.
Team News – South Africa
Kaizer Chiefs forward Lebogang Manyama is back in the squad for the first time since 2017 as a replacement for the injured Themba Zwane. There are no other injuries in the team.
Key players – Ghana
Jordan Ayew – The Crystal Palace striker is enjoying a great season in England. In 11 Premier League games, Jordan has scored four goals but two of those goals have come against Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford and Emirates respectively.
Andre Ayew – Just like his brother, Andre is also having a great season. The Swansea City vice-captain has scored six and assisted three goals in 15 appearances.
Key players – South Africa
Lebo Mothiba – The striker ended his barren run for French Ligue 1 side Strasbourg with two goals against Nimes on Saturday. He has slowly regained his killer instinct ahead of the International break, a big boost for Bafana Bafana.
Percy Tau – The 25-year-old has been involved five goals in 11 matches in Belgium and has also made five appearances for Club Brugge in Europe’s flagship competition Champions League.
This will be the 13th meeting between the two African giants with Bafana having beaten the Black Stars four times and lost on three occasions, with five matches drawn.
Six of their 11 matches were competitive and Ghana have the upper hand having recorded three wins compared to Bafana’s two victories, while one game ended in a stalemate.
The Black Stars ran out 2-1 winners at the 2015 Afcon finals and it remains their last competitive match
Predicted Starting XI for Ghana: Richard Ofori, Lumor Agbenyenu, Kassim Nuhu, Joseph Aidoo, Andy Yiadom, Samuel Owusu, Thomas Partey, Alfred Duncan, Patrick Twumasi, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew
Predicted Starting XI for South Africa: Darren Keet, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Buhle Mkhwanazi, S’fiso Hlanti, Bongani Zungu, Dean Furman, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba, Thembinkosi Lorch.
South Africa won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first and only time in 1996. Ghana have however won the competition on four occasions (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982).
South Africa have won four out of their eight games in 2019 (W4 D1 L3). Ghana have won one less than their upcoming opponents in the same period (W3 D3 L2).
Eight of the twenty-five players called for South Africa have seven or less international caps. Twelve of the current twenty-one man squad for Ghana have seven or less international caps and five of them are debutants.