AFCON 23 Qualifiers: Ghana secures Ivory Coast berth with come-back win over Central African Republic

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
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The Black Stars of Ghana rallied from a goal down to beat the Central African Republic by 2-1 in a gut-wrenching game at the Baba Yara Sports stadium this evening.

Goals from Mohammed Kudus and Ernest Nuamah were enough to seal Ghana’s spot in the upcoming Total African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled for Côte d’Ivoire in January 2024.

The Black Stars went into the game as favourites needing only a draw to progress to next year’s African continental football showpiece, but the task was always going to be daunting for the stars who were without some of their key players; deputy captain, Thomas Partey, veteran center back, Daniel Amartey and KRC Genk midfielder, Joseph Painstil all ineligible due to injuries they picked up while on duty for their respective clubs.

Mathematically, Ghana needed to avoid defeat in order to seal qualification from the group, whereas Central African Republic needed a victory to participate in their first ever AFCON.

The wild Beasts were on course and made a flying start to the game, with Mafouta Louis opening the scoring for the visitors in the nerve-wracking encounter. A lapse of concentration in the 25th minute exposed Goalkeeper Ati Zigi and Joseph Aidoo, allowing CAR top goal scorer Mafouta to sneak in and extend his goal tally to 5 in the qualification phase. Mafouta was put through on goal after he got to the end of a defense-splitting pass from the industrious Amos Yaouga, before the former lashed it in after rounding the Ghanaian goalie.

The Central African Republic were relentless and continued to control the early exchanges as the Stars gave off a lacklustre vibe. But a moment of magic from West Ham new boy, Kudus Mohammed sprang the game into life with a sublime free-kick, the Stars recovering from the early setback. Osman Bukari was hurled down by CAR defender Yangao just 19- yards away fron the Central African Republic goal.

West Ham star Mohammed Kudus stepped up and rolled the ball into the net, to ensure parity at the interval.

The match was on a knife edge heading into the second half, the resumption of proceedings with little to no action until Black stars coach Chris Hughton made some tactical tweaks to his side and threw on Antoine Semenyo and Ernest Nuamah in place of Inaki Williams and Osman Bukari respectively. The response was rapid as the duo teed up to produce the Ghana’s second, with Enerst Nuamah grabbing his first Black stars goal. Antoine Semenyo seized out muscled Raphael Yapende to win the ball before finding Ernest Nuamah who steered the ball into an open goal on the brink of the full time whilstle.

It was another lucky day for the stars who produced a master class in the final 20 minutes of the game to deny Central African Republic a place in the AFCONfor the first time ever in their football history.

Ghana has held on to the lead as it progressed to the 34th Edition of the African Cup of Nations after participating in the previous 9 editions.

The Black stars will head back to Accra where they take on Liberia in an international friendly encounter on September 12.

Story by : Andrews Sefa Bamfo |

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