The Black Stars of Ghana will be making their tenth consecutive Africa Cup of Nations appearance in Ivory Coast for AFCON 2024 under the tutelage of Chris Hughton.
The four-time champions have yet to win the AFCON trophy since they last won in 1982 in Libya.
Ghana are in Group B with Mozambique, Cape Verde, and serial AFCON winner Egypt.
For the record, this year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.
Black Stars form going into AFCON 2024
The Black Stars of Ghana were once a force to be reckoned with, and the mere thought of playing them alone sent shivers down the spine of their opponents.
Times have changed, and so has Ghana’s reverence as one of the ‘powerhouse’ of African football. The recent setup has toiled under the guidance of Hughton, whose tactical nous and competence have been questioned. His players have not been spared either by fans, deservedly. The Black Stars were shambolic in the previous AFCON edition, struggling to advance from a group that had Comoros, Gabon, and Morocco.
To join the party in Ivory Coast, Ghana laboured before securing a ticket. Pitted against Madagascar, Central African Republic, and Angola in Group E of the qualifying rounds,
Hughton’s team won three games and drew the other three. Based on recent form, the team has not been as convincing either, winning as much as it lost (4 times) in its last ten fixtures.
Is Ernest Nuamah Ghana's trump card?
With an abundance of talented youngsters such as Mohammed Kudus, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Joseph Paintsil, and Michael Biadoo, Hughton certainly possesses the necessary tools to make a compelling case with Ghana in Cote d'Ivoire. Out of the aforementioned players, one player expected to be his trump card is Ernest Nuamah.
The 20-year-old Olympique Lyonnais forward has long been touted as one of the potential saviours of Ghana football. He honed his skills at the prestigious Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, the same academy that nurtured West Ham star Mohammed Kudus, Kamaldeen Sulemana of Southampton, and Simon Adingra of Brighton and Hove Albion.
He joined the French outfit at the beginning of the season after some consistent performances with Danish side Nordsjaelland, where he scored 20 goals in 49 appearances. In his season in the French Ligue 1, the Ghanaian youngster has scored a goal and provided an assist in 14 games.
As silky as they come, Nuamah makes football look easy. Equipped with vision and quality on the ball, he is capable of spraying passes, keeping the game simple, or executing the final balls. Nuamah is versatile and is capable of playing on either wing or centrally as a No.10. Hughton could make use of a player who has a wand of a left foot.
This unique ability makes him unpredictable for the opposition. When dribbling, Nuamah can comfortably manoeuvre in any direction, often leaving defenders on their rear end.
He has made seven appearances for the Black Stars, registering two goals and an assist. A selfless player with an incredible engine, his energetic displays, and never-say-die attitude reflect the values instilled in him at the Right to Dream Academy.
He provides much more than the work rate. With his driving runs, slick passes, and discipline, the youngster is surely ready to rub shoulders with established names in the Black Stars.
How Ghana prepared for AFCON 2024
The Black Stars were expected to begin their pre-AFCON camp on December 31 in Johannesburg and would play Botswana in a friendly on January 8. However, this announcement didn’t sit well with Ghanaians.
Consequently, there is a new development that the Black Stars would instead camp in Kumasi and face Namibia, who will be training in Ghana before departing for the AFCON, in a friendly game.
Ghana squad for AFCON 2024
Goalkeepers: Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Richard Ofori, Joe Wollacott.
Defenders: Daniel Amartey, Alexander Djiku, Abdul Fatawu Hamid, Gideon Mensah, Denis Odoi, Nicholas Opoku, Mohammed Salisu , Kingsley Schindler, Alidu Seidu.
Midfielders: Majeed Ashimeru, Osman Bukari, Baba Iddrisu, Ransford Koningsdorffer, Mohammed Kudus, Richmond Lamptey, Elisha Owusu, Joseph Paintsil, Salis Abdul Samed.
Forwards: Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Ernest Nuamah, Antoine Semenyo, Jonathan Sowah, Inaki Williams