Black Meteors face Fennec Foxes today …in Africa U-23 AFCON qualifier
Ghana’s Africa U-23 side, the Black Meteors, will continue with the quest to make a second appearance at the African Cup of Nations when they face-off today with the Fennec Foxes of Algeria at the Stade 19 Mai Stadium in Annaba.
The first leg final qualifier for the June 24 to July 8 tournament to be hosted by Morocco, will see the host Algeria chase revenge after Coach Ibrahim Tanko’s Black Meteors side robbed them of qualification to the previous edition in Egypt with a 2-1 aggregate win in 2019.
Ghana drew 1-1 with the Algerians in Accra and defeated them 1-0 in the return leg at the Stade 8 Mai 1945 in Setif through a 69th-minute strike by skipper Yaw Yeboah to book qualification.
Despite that feat, the Meteors missed out on qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games but Coach Tanko is determined to go a step further this time to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games.
Speaking ahead of departure to Algeria on Wednesday, Coach Tanko noted that they were focused on snatching the maximum points ahead of the return encounter.
Ahead of the trip to Algeria, Coach Tanko augmented his team with invitations handed to FC Basel midfielder Emmanuel Essiam, Sporting Lisbon midfielder Abdul FatawuIssahaku, Emmanuel Yeboah of CFR Cruj, Zubairu Ibrahim of FK Jedinstvo Ub, Adams Salim of FC Cincinnati, Daniel Afriyie Banierh of FC Zurich and FC Nordsjaelland duo of Alex Sarfo and Ernest Nuamah.
The Algerians made it this far by sheer luck after their opponent in the last round of qualifiers, DR Congo was disqualified by CAF for fielding an unqualified player in the second and third rounds of the qualifiers against Ethiopia and Algeria, respectively.
The Algerian Head Coach, Noureddine Ould Ali has, ahead of the game, declared that his side was ready to seal qualification after the first leg but beating the Ghanaians handsomely.
“We made a mistake in 2019, and we got punished by the same side, this time, we are alert and would pay them back in their own coin,” he told the Algeria press.
The second leg will takes place on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi with the winner over the two legs qualifying to the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY