Prime News Ghana

AFCON 2023: Black Stars face Mozambique in 'do or die' affair tonight

By Vincent Ashitey
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The Black Stars of Ghana will later today go head-to-head against Mozambique in what is essentially a winner-takes-all encounter.

With one point apiece after two matches, the Black Stars and Mozambique both need to win to stand any real chance of qualifying for the last 16.

Ghana suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde in their group opener and played out a 2-2 draw against Egypt in their second group game.

Mozambique on the other hand kicked off their continental campaign with a 2-2 draw against Egypt at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny before suffering a 3-0 by Cape Verde side in their last game.

Black Stars and Mozambique sit third and fourth respectively in the group table with just one point from an obtainable six.

The winner of tonight's clash will advance automatically to the last 16 of the tournament provided Egypt fail to beat group leaders Cape Verde elsewhere.

Speaking ahead of the game, Ghana coach Chris Hughton said his players are aware of the magnitude of tonight's test

‘’We are aware of the magnitude of this game; we know that this is a game that we have to win’’ Chris Houghton said.

‘’Our preparation going into the game has been the same as in the two previous games and all we can do is to prepare the team to play a very tough match as all of these games are and to make sure that we put in the level of performance that allow us to win this game’’

Chris Hughton continued by stressing on the need for the team to welcome pressure. He mentioned that pressure is associated with football.

''I think we are all aware that this is a situation that we would rather not be in and we feel certainly from the performance and the goals that we conceded that we should be in a better position but we are not so the conversation is not difficult''.

''This is a game that we have to win. The level of performance in our game against Egypt was better than our level of performance in our first game against Cape Verde so the players know what it would take to get the result. There are no easy games in this tournament and we will come up against a Mozambique team that also know that they have to win to progress so we have to be physically and mentally prepared for this and the players know this''

''I think of the pressure that you go into every tournament with; I don’t think it’s a reflection of the past. There isn’t anybody that is associated with the Black Stars that isn’t conscious of the trophies that we have won and the dominance that the team has shown in this competition in the past but this is a different year''.

''There is always pressure if you are a Black Stars head coach, there is always pressure if you are a Black Stars player, and this comes with the game.

''But we have a group of players as does every team that go into pressurized games at club level. Be it to win the League or to make sure they stay in the League or to stay in the Cup competition or to stay in the European competition so the levels of pressure on both the head coach and the player and it comes with the job and you have to accept it and you have to welcome it'' he added.


Match facts

  • There have been six meetings between Mozambique and Ghana. The Black Stars are undefeated in all six matchups, picking up four wins and two draws.
  • The two teams last faced off in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash back in March 2016 which ended goalless.
  • Mozambique are without a clean sheet in their last eight games across all competitions.
  • The Mambas have the worst defensive record in Group B so far with a goal concession tally of five.
  • The Black Stars were ranked 61st in the latest FIFA rankings and now sit 50 places above their midweek opponents.