Their second game in Group F, the Black Stars are not only hoping to win to bring their campaign back on track following their disappointing 2-2 draw with Benin, but also have an eye on revenge following their semifinal defeat to the Indomitable Lions at the last Afcon two years ago.
Cameroon, on the other hand, have their eyes on three points to confirm their place in the next round after their 2-0 triumph over Guinea-Bissau in their tournament opener. A win will also emphasise their dominance over the Black Stars at Afcon.
The game will be played at Ismailia Stadium.
|Ghana v Cameroon|
|Date||Saturday, June 29|
Squads & Team News
Ghana have been boosted by the return of captain Andre Ayew, who ended the opening game with injury. The scorer of the Black Stars’ first goal against Benin, the Swansea City attacker rejoined training on Friday, having sat out Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions.
Although his availability for Saturday’s game is not clear, coach James Kwesi Appiah is confirmed to be without winger Thomas Agyepong, who also picked up an injury against the Squirrels.
Centre-back John Boye will also be missing after being sent off for time-wasting on Tuesday.
USA-based Jonathan Mensah, who was brought on to take Boye’s place following the red card, is expected to start on Saturday, while Inter Milan midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah is also expected to have his first taste of action against the Indomitable Lions after his bench role on Tuesday.
Refreshingly for Cameroon, they have no problems with their playing personnel - aside from Caf’s refusal to allow a replacement for striker Diederrick Joel Tagueu, who was withdrawn from the squad on the eve of their tournament opener due to a heart condition.
Although they beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0, many were not impressed by the Lions’ performance on the day, as the likes of PSG striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Christian Bassogog failed to find their rhythm.
Without any major injuries in camp and hoping his big boys step up on Saturday, coach Clarence Seedorf is certainly keeping an eye on the fitness situation of Ghana talisman Ayew.
"I really don't know what is going with the Ghana team whether Andre Ayew will play or not. His fitness is not our problem but he is a very good player. If he is not going to play, Ghana has a great team and other players will be there,” the former Dutch international said during Friday’s pre-match press conference.
Ghana’s record against Cameroon at Afcon is certainly not encouraging, as the Black Stars have lost their last two games against the Indomitable Lions, who are yet to taste defeat.
Their last meeting was only two years ago in Gabon, where the Lions run out with a 2-0 victory in the semifinals.
"The fact that you've beaten a team in the past doesn't guarantee you a win in the next match. It will be a good game. We are ready. We have respect for all teams but this will be a different game. We will give them a very good game,” Ghana coach Appiah said at the pre-match presser.
The Black Stars indeed face a tall order on Saturday, as Cameroon are unbeaten in their last seven games at Afcon (four wins, three draws), their longest run since February 2000 – February 2004 (12) when they won the 2000 and 2002 Afcon titles.
With Ghana having won only one of their last five games at Afcon (one draw, three losses) after winning six of their previous seven, the Stars must raise their game on Saturday at all cost.
A point of optimism for the Black Stars, though, is the presence and form of Andre Ayew and brother Jordan, who both scored on Tuesday. Impressively, they have been involved in 12 of Ghana’s last 16 goals at Afcon (9 goals and 3 assists).