Match Preview: Ghana vs Central Africa Republic, Team News, Predicted Lineups & TV Coverage 2023 AFCON Qualifiers

The Black Stars of Ghana have the chance to seal their qualification to 2023 AFCON finals in Ivory Coast when they win or draw against Central Africa Republic in last round of qualifiers at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Thursday evening.

Ghana lead Group E with 9 points in impressive display in the qualifying stage with second place Angola trailing the Black Stars with just a point.

A defeat to Central Africa Republic and Angola’s win over Madagascar in the other fixture at Estádio Nacional da Tundavala in Lubango will see Black Stars miss out on Ivory Coast AFCON.

Ghana opened their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 home victory over Madagascar, before following with a 1-1 away draw against Central African Republic, 1-0 win over Angola, 1-1 draw against Angola, 0-0 draw against Madagascar and are hosting Central Africa Republic in final qualifying round.

Chris Hughton will hope to continue his unbeaten run since taking over as Black Stars boss in February. Hughton led Black Stars to Ghana’s 1-0 victory over Angola in what was his first game for the 4-time AFCON champions.

The former Nottingham Forest boss has collected a formidable side, in the campaign, as Ghana prospect to end their AFCON curse in Ivory Coast 2023.

Ghana remain unbeaten in this journey winning 2 and drawing 3 of the 5 games so far on the road. Ghana have already maintained 100% home record beating Angola and Madagascar and are expected to continue that winning streak against Central Africa Republic.

Ghana have to avoid defeat against CAR tomorrow and irrespective of Angola’s effect on fourth place Madagascar tomorrow, Ghana will still see the safer side of qualification.

CAR sit third in Group E on seven points heading into the final round of matches.

Team News- Ghana

Chris Hughton has named a 25-man squad to face Central Africa Republic. Ghana begun preparations for this clash in Accra on Monday before arriving in Kumasi on Tuesday. Black Stars trained at the Baba Yara Stadium Tuesday evening and continued on Wednesday.

Ghana have little injury worries with Joseph Paintsil been ruled out of the game after the Black Stars via GhanaWeb announcing the forward has been granted permission to leave camp for his club Genk.

Chris Hughton has almost a full squad and the choice of first eleven will undoubtedly give the head coach a problem.

Ghana is in a rebuilding process after collapsing the poor 2022 AFCON campaigners. Majority of the newly assembled members of the Black Stars are present for tomorrow’s game but a couple including Thomas Partey is missing this encounter due to injury.

Richard Ofori, Elisha Owusu and Baba Iddrisu are making a return to the squad with the last two recovering from injuries.

Baba Iddrisu missed the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while Elisha Owusu has been sidelined since picking up an injury in February, making his last appearance for Ghana during the FIFA World Cup finals in November the previous year.

Andre Ayew’s call-up has made many concerns in Ghana and is more likely to captain the Black Stars Thursday.

Ghana squad

Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, Richard Ofori, Alidu Seidu, Kingsley Schindler, Stephan Ambrosius, Joseph Aidoo, Alexander Djiku, Nicholas Opoku, Baba Abdul Rahman, Gideon Mensah, Abdul Samed Salis, Baba Iddissu, Andre Ayew, Elisha Owusu, Edmund Addo, Mohammed Kudus, Ransford Koningsdorffer, Inaki Williams, Antoine Semenyo, Jordan Ayew, Ernest Nuamah, Osman Bukari, Jonathan Sowah.

Team News- Central Africa Republic

CAR boss Raoul Savoy named a 24-man list on Saturday (3rd September, 2023) ahead of Ghana’s clash as the Central Africa nation dealt with huge blow.

Star midfielder and former Inter Milan man Geoffrey Kondogbia will miss the game. The 30-year old grabbed CAR’s goal in 2-1 loss to Angola in June. 

The France-based player has been ruled out for several weeks through injury, robbing the Fauves du Bas-Oubangui of their most influential player.

However, they boast of a good news with third highest scorer of the qualifying round Louis Mafouta facing Ghana on Thursday.

Mafouta has scored four goals, behind only Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen. If he fires CAR to victory and Angola beat Madagascar, Ghana will lose out on the qualification on goal difference.

His firepower up front could prove crucial as the Central African Republic aim to clinch the win they likely need in Kumasi to seal an Africa Cup of Nations place.

Coach Raoul Savoy must now devise an alternative gameplan without his midfield talisman available for selection

Anything less than a win would eliminate Central Africa Republic, regardless of the result between Angola and Madagascar. With Ghana only needing a draw to progress and sitting top on nine points, Kondogbia’s absence is a significant setback for the Central African Republic.

CAR squad

Geoffrey Lembet, Berry Biandao, Saturnin Ngarsouma, Peter Guinari, Stephane Ndobe, Flory Yangao, Freeman Niamathe, Sidney Dambakizi, Severin Tatolna, Marco Yapende, Amos Youga, Gabriel Oualengbe, Brad Pirioua, Guy Bekain, Tresor Toropite, Ghislain Venuste Baboula, Karl Namnganda, Goduine Koyalipou, Marco Majouga, Axel Urie, Juste Koulou, Eleoenai Tompte, Louis Mafouta, Cesar Manzoki.

Predicted Lineups 

Ghana predicted XI: Lawrence Ati-zigi, Alidu Seidu, Joseph Aidoo, Alexander Djiku, Baba Abdul Rahman, Samed Salis, Edmund Addo, Andre Ayew, Mohammed Kudus, Jordan Ayew, Antoine Semenyo

CAR predicted XI: Geoffrey Lembet, Flory Yangao, Peter Guinari, Freeman Niamathe, Tresor Toropite, Amos Youga, Gabriel Oualengbe, Ghislain Venuste Baboula, Louis Mafouta, Juste Koulou, Eleoenai Tompte

TV Coverage

The game will be live on Ghanaian television stations GTV Sports Plus and Max TV. Countries South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Central African Republic and Nigeria will see the game live on SuperSport.

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