Ghana will return to the 2022 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship after a six-year absence with hopes of replicating their previous praiseworthy performances in the tournament in Algeria.
The Black Galaxies hopes of excelling in the tournament have been boosted by the presence of two players Danlad Ibrahim and Afriyie Barnieh who were part of the Black Stars squad at the just-ended 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
They were impressive in their qualifying campaign sparking hopes that they would replicate their showing in the 2009 and 2014 edition of the tournaments where they reached the final competition exclusively for home-based players.
The intentions were made clear during the qualifiers as they got a smooth run over Benin in the preliminary round, claiming back-to-back wins in both legs in Cape Coast and Cotonou to progress with a 4-0 aggregate score line.
Ghana then faced arch-rivals and continental giants Nigeria in the next round in a keenly contested tie with the Ghanaians sailing through via the post-match penalty shootouts.
The first leg ended 2-0 in Ghana's favour in Cape Coast, and a similar score line was registered in favour of Nigeria in Abuja before the penalties decided the winner.
The victory sealed the Black Galaxies’ place to give them another chance to make as they seek to fight for the ultimate in their fourth appearance in the tournament.
Ghana have been handed a tough draw to play title holders Morocco as well as Sudan and Madagascar in Group C.
Match Calendar (Group C)
January 15, 2023: Madagascar vs. Ghana, 20h00 local time, Constantine
January 19, 2023: Ghana vs. Sudan, 20h00 local time, Constantine
January 23, 2023: Ghana vs. Morocco, 20h00 local time, Constantine
Coach: Annor Walker
Walker is a veteran coach in Ghanaian football circles with veritable achievement of coaching underdog to successes including handling legendary Abedi Pele’s side Nania FC. The Black Galaxies is his first appointment with any national team in the country despite excelling with various clubs. The head coach of Ghana League side FC Samartex previously handled Great Olympics and Berekum Chelsea, finishing in respectable positions, earning him the appointment with the Black Galaxies.
Players to watch
Daniel Afriyie Barnieh
The Hearts of Oak talisman was the top scorer during the CHAN qualifications where he scored four goals in four games. He was listed in Ghana's final squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
He was captain of the Ghana U20 side when they won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021.
David Abagna Sandan
The current captain of Ghana Premier League side Real Tamale United has been a consistent performer over the past few seasons. His blistering start to the 2021-22 campaign earned him a place in the Ghana squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Abagna has 21 goals in 54 appearances across the last three seasons in the Ghanaian top flight as a midfielder.
A young goalkeeper but experienced having represented Ghana at all levels from U17 to the senior national team. The Asante Kotoko goalkeeper is presently the first choice for the Ghana U23 team and the CHAN team. He was included in Ghana's squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
History in CHAN
Ghana participated in the maiden edition of the CHAN tournament in 2009, where they reached the finals and lost to DR Congo in Côte d'Ivoire.
The West African giants also participated in the following edition in 2011 but they failed to progress from the group stage after finishing bottom of the log behind South Africa, Niger and Zimbabwe.
Ghana's next appearance in the CHAN tournament was in 2014 hosted by South Africa where they made it to the final for the second time but lost on penalties to Libya.