The final round of matches of the Africa Cup of Nations are set to continue today with a lot of high-stakes encounter matches on the cards once again. All eyes will be on four-time winners Ghana as they take on debutants Comoros at the Stade Omnisport in Garoua, knowing that anything less than a win would see them get knocked out. The Black Stars have been underwhelming so far, losing their opening game to Morocco before drawing with Gabon four days later, a game that left a sour taste on Ghana’s faithful.

Speaking to the press ahead of this encounter, Ghana’s head coach,  Milovan Rajevac, lamented on the short period of time that his team had for preparations but was still upbeat that they were on the ‘right path’. “Communication is not a problem and the team understands me very well. We just didn’t have enough time to prepare.” The Serbian tactician also took issue with the current crop of players at his disposal saying he doesn’t have players like the talismanic Asamoah Gyan. Ghana currently lies 3rd in Group C and 5th in third-place ranking. Comoros have been virtually eliminated after losing their first two games. Kickoff is at 10PM EAT.

At the same time, Morocco will entertain Gabon at the Stade Ahmadou in Yaounde knowing that a draw will be enough to ensure a top spot. The Atlas Lions are yet to concede in this tournament and are still widely considered as one of the title favorites. Gabon, on the other hand, will be looking to put the off-pitch squabbles around their captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina behind them and book a place in the knockout stages. The duo has since been sent back to their clubs after unconfirmed reports suggested that they left the team’s hotel without permission and returned in the wee hours of Monday morning drunk and disorderly. Head coach Patrice Neveu has however insisted that Aubameyang and Lemina had developed further complications after contracting COVID=19 a few days to their opening game against Comoros.

In group B, Senegal will be looking to ramp up their efforts and put on a better show when they chase the top spot against Malawi. The 2019 finalists have been lackluster (by their standards) in their opening games but are still joint top of the group with four points. Head coach Aliou Cisse will be boosted with the likely return of top defender and captain Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who had tested positive for COVID-19 and sat out of two opening games. The Flames of Malawi currently have three points and will walk in today knowing a draw might be enough to see them through to round of 16,  if other results go their way. Guinea play an already eliminated Zimbabwe. A win might guarantee them top spot and a less formidable opponent in the next round.

By Ariel Okall



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