The Black Stars of Ghana will today, Monday, 10 January 2022 begin their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Morocco in the first Group C match.
The game is expected to kick off at 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Both countries have met three times at the Afcon with balanced records in the group stage.
Ghana and Morocco have both recorded one draw and one win each.
While it will be Morocco’s 18th participation in the Afcon, Ghana will be making its 23rd appearance after Cote d’Ivoire with 24 appearances and Egypt, 25.
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged the Black Stars to bring the Afcon trophy home, as the 33rd edition of the tournament kicked off in Cameroon on Sunday.
“The task may be daunting but it is certainly not insurmountable,” Nana Akufo-Addo said in a video message to the team in Cameroon.
He said Ghanaians demand nothing short of glory from the Black Stars.
“Like any other Afcon edition, the Ghanaian people demand nothing short of ultimate glory from the stars”, he said, adding: “The pressure to succeed is understandably high because of our status as four-time winners and also because it’s been 40 long years since we last lifted the trophy”.
“The target for you, naturally, is to bring the cup home,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
“We have to go a step further than the second places recorded in 1992, 2010 and 2015 and bring the 40-year drought to an end”.
“The task may be daunting but it is certainly not insurmountable. I believe that in the current crop of players, we have the talent to match any of the best teams on the continent,” he added.
The President said the Ghanaian team has been pencilled down as one of the favourites of the tournament because of their sheer quality and, therefore, urged the team to “work to bring the prediction to fruition.”
He told the squad: “You, the current crop, wear the jersey of the Black Stars; the same jersey worn by Ghanaian legends such as Addo Damptey, Ben Simons, Aggrey-Fynn, Wilberforce Nfum, Edward Acquah, Mohammed Salisu, Baba Yara, Abdul Razak, Opoku Nti and Francis Kumi. Wear it with pride, wear it with determination, be of one mind and spirit and be united on or off the pitch. Whether you are in the starting 11 chosen by coach Milovan Rajevac or not, you owe it a duty to back and support wholeheartedly your teammates representing the whole nation on the field, that is how a fifth Afcon trophy for mother Ghana can be achieved.”
To Ghanaians, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Now, more than ever, is the time to throw our unwavering support behind the team,” advising: “Yes, I’m aware that there are 30 million coaches in Ghana, however, in this age of social media we cannot allow any form of pessimism especially in our comments to filter through to the team”.
“We cannot directly or indirectly afford to break their morale. In the highs and lows, in good or bad times we must show the team that we are Ghanaians and we look out for each other no matter what. We can make the Black Stars a force to reckon with once again on the continent and on world football beginning with this tournament.”
The President reiterated his call to the team to “go for gold, go for the fifth Afcon trophy, we can do it, I know we can.”
The Black Stars will play Morocco in their first game on Monday, 10 January.
The team will also play Gabon and Comoros with the hope of qualifying to the round 16th stage of the competition.