CAIRO, Egypt, Jun 28 – Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah says the time has come to end the dominance of Cameroon over his country in the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Black Stars have confronted the Indomitable Lions four times from 1982 and the best they have achieved is two group draws while suffering two semi-final defeats.
“We are going to give Cameroon a really good game and I am sure we will emerge victorious,” said the coach in his second spell as Ghana coach.
Defending champions Cameroon will start as slight favourites to win the Group F clash in Ismailia Saturday having been the more impressive performers earlier this week.
Cameroon scored twice in three minutes to end the resistance of Guinea-Bissau and win 2-0 while Ghana had John Boye red-carded as they were held 2-2 by Benin.
Here, AFP Sport previews the three Saturday matches, with Benin and Guinea-Bissau the other fixture in an Ismailia double-header, while Angola meet Mauritania in Group E in Suez.
Cameroon v Ghana
Appiah is not overly concerned with the two dropped points against lower-ranked Benin because Ghana are traditionally slow starters at the Cup of Nations.
They always recover and boast a record of six consecutive top-four finishes from 2008, including finishing runners-up twice.
He was upset by the dismissal of veteran Boye, believing his time wasting should have earned a verbal warning rather than a second yellow card.
Cameroon centre-back Ambroise Oyongo, one of four starters against Guinea-Bissau who were part of the 2017 title-winning team, says they must improve against Ghana.
“We have to raise our game against Ghana. We did not start with a win in 2017 but this time we did and I believe that is a good omen going forward in the competition.”
Benin v Guinea-Bissau
Former English Premier League midfielder Stephane Sessegnon has personal and team ambitions ahead of his probable return to the team after missing the Ghana match through suspension.
The Turkey-based 35-year-old captain of the Squirrels needs one goal to overtake Razak Omotoyossi and become the record scorer for the national team.
He also wants to help Benin finally win a match at the Cup of Nations after two draws and eight losses since debuting 15 years ago.
Another threat to Guinea-Bissau will be physically imposing Mickael Pote, who also plays his club football in Turkey and bagged a brace against Ghana.
Guinea-Bissau contained Cameroon for 65 minutes, but once they fell behind to a Yaya Banana header the Djurtus (wild dogs) had little bite in attack.
Angola v Mauritania
These Group E rivals defeated each other at home in qualifying for a 2019 Cup of Nations switched to Egypt after Cameroon fell behind with preparations.
Angola recovered from falling behind after just two minutes to triumph 4-1 in Luanda and Mauritania gained revenge four days later with a 1-0 win in Nouakchott.
Mauritania conceded four goals again this week when losing to Mali and often poorly positioned goalkeeper Brahim Souleimane could be axed by French coach Corentin Martins.
Serbia-born Angola coach Srdjan Vasiljevic was thrilled by the come-from-behind 1-1 draw with Tunisia, who are making a record-extending 14th straight appearance at the tournament.
“We got a good result after enormous difficulties in the preparation period. We want to play good football and compete with the best African teams,” he said.