An interesting fixture is on the cards as Ghana and Congo draw swords at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat. With both teams looking to kick-start their U23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 campaign with a win, it'll be interesting to see who will reign supreme after 90 minutes.
🚨🇬🇭 Final Ghana Black Stars squad list for the U23 Africa Cup of Nations.
🌟They play their first game today against Congo Republic. Kick off is at 3pm. pic.twitter.com/PpWwX2Uybw
— Football View (@FootballViewYT) June 25, 2023
It's important to point out that this isn't Ghana's first rodeo at the AFCON U23 competition; they participated in the previous edition of this tournament, finishing second in Group A. However, the knockout stages weren't very pleasant for the Black Meteors, as they suffered back-to-back losses, missing out on Olympic qualification after a penalty shootout. With that in mind, Ghana's head coach Ibrahim Tanko has stressed the importance of qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Unlike today's opponents, Congo will play in this tournament for the first time in history; this isn't saying much considering this is the fourth edition of the AFCON U23. Be that as it may, the Congolese will have a tough task ahead of them, as they take on a star-studded Black Meteors side.
Prediction 1: Ghana to Take All Three Points
"We are CHARGED up for Caf U-23 AFCON" , Ghana Captain Afriyie Barnieh.#BlackMetors captain @AfriyieBarnieh says, the atmosphere in the Black Meteors camp are fired up for the 2023 U23 African Cup of Nations.
— M.C MALIK (@MCMalik19) June 25, 2023
Although Congo made it past the qualifying rounds, it's fair to point out that they won just one match in their entire qualifying campaign. As a matter of fact, Cyril Ndonga's boys defeated South Africa via the away goal rule in the last qualifying round, after both legs ended in stalemates. The Congolese managed just one win in their last six matches, with three draws and two losses. In contrast, Ghana are currently on a five-match unbeaten run, with three wins and two draws. Taking both teams recent form into account, we are fairly confident that the Black Meteors will come out on top.
Prediction 2: One Team to Blank
We've already established that Ghana have no losses in their last five games. Their recent success is due, in part, to their solid defense. The Black Meteors kept two clean sheets in their last four matches, allowing just two goals. On the other hand, Congo played out a goalless draw in their last match. Like today's opponents, they also kept two clean sheets in their last four matches. Bearing that in mind, we believe that one of these teams will keep a clean sheet.
Prediction 3: Under 2.5 Total Goals
Finally, let's explore the over/under goals market. Given that Ghana and Congo have both been able to rely on their defense in recent months, it's no surprise that they were involved in a few low-scoring matches throughout their respective qualifying campaigns. While all of Ghana's last four matches featured less than three goals, three of Congo's last four games went below the 2.5 goal line. On that note, this will likely be a low-scoring affair.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago