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Africa U23 Cup of Nations

U23 Afcon Qualifier: Ghana's Tekpetey and Ashimeru on their showdown with Algeria

6:26 PM GMT+8 06/09/2019
Bernard Tekpetey
The young Ghanaian stars are looking forward to the final round qualifying first leg fixture against the North Africans in Accra

Ghana attacker Bernard Tekpetey believes his outfit is "ready to take their chances" in Friday's 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations (Afcon) final round qualifier against Algeria.

The Black Meteors are set to take on the North Africans in a final round first leg fixture in Accra, four days to the second leg decider away from home.

Ghana are seeking a first-time qualification for Afcon, having failed to secure a ticket since the competition's inception in 2011.

"We have prepared well and are hoping to take our chances," Schalke 04 loanee Tekpetey told Sportsworldghana.

"We want to make the nation proud with our quality by qualifying ahead of Algeria.

"For every good game, there is strong support behind it. Therefore we expect the supporters to come to the stadium in their numbers to cheer us to victory."

Ghana's current team has been widely mentioned as the most star-studded U23 side to be assembled by the nation.

Aside from Tekpetey, the team also boasts Udinese centre-back Nicholas Opoku, Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Majeed Ashimeru, Celta Vigo's Yaw Yeboah, Joseph Paintsil of Belgian champions Genk, Dauda Mohammed of Anderlecht and left-back Gideon Mensah, who was recently linked to Barcelona.

Leganes loanee Kwabena Owusu and St. Gallen centre-back Musah Nuhu are also part of the setup but they will miss the Algeria double-header due to club commitments and injury respectively.

Fortuna Dusseldorf new kid on the block Kelvin Ofori, Everton target Mohammed Kudus, Valladolid centre-back Mohammed Salisu and Mainz loanee Issah Abass are also knocking on the door.

The Austria based midfielder, Ashimeru spoke to KweseTV about the match.

"You can see everyone from outside the country is playing [regularly] in their teams [abroad]. Everyone is ready and we're ready to go for it,'' Ashimeru said.

''Everyone is looking forward to it [qualifying for the Olympic Games]. I think it's been years since we haven't qualified for the Olympics.

"We know how important it is so I think we are ready and hopefully we can do something better here and go to Algeria and do better.''

The U23 Afcon will serve as the qualifier for next year's Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan, with the top three teams in Egypt set to represent Africa at the global showpiece.