Before every Africa cup of Nations tournament, the Ghana national team, Black Stars, participates in matches as preparation towards the tournament.
This write-up reviews some of the team’s preparatory matches.
Since the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is taking place in Egypt, it is only right I start the research from the last time Egypt hosted the tournament.
Ahead of the 2006 Africa Cup, the Ghanaian team led by Ratomir Djukovic, played two friendly games; 11th January 2006 in which Togo beat Ghana by a lone goal. The team again lost 2:0 to Tunisia in another friendly match on the 15th January 2006.
It must be noted that out of the two games played, and over 180 minutes of football, Ghana failed to score in both matches.
Ahead of the 2008 tournament, Ghana, led by Claude Leroy participated in four-nation tournament at the Accra sports stadium. This was a preparatory match for the main tournament being co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria. Ghana played two matches in the tournament. On 18th November 2007, Ghana beat Togo by 2-0 and beat Benin 4:2 in another game played on the 21st November 2007.
It must be noted that out of the 180 minutes played, Ghana scored six goals and conceded two.
Ahead of 2010 tournament, the Black Stars played two friendly games both of which ended goalless. They drew 0-0 with Angola and Malawi.
It must be noted that in over 180 minutes of football, Ghana failed to score.
Before the 2012 Cup of Nations, Ghana under Goran Stephanovic, played two friendly games with Nigeria and Gabon. They drew goalless with their West African rivals and beat Gabon 2:1.
It must be noted that after over 180 minutes, Ghana scored two and conceded just a goal.
Ahead of the 2013 Nations’ cup, Kwasi Appiah led the team to play two friendly games; on the 10th of January 2013 against Egypt which Ghana won 3:0 and against Tunisia on 13th January which Ghana 4-2.
After over 180 minutes, Ghana scored six goals conceded two.
Coach Avram Grant’s team played a 1:1 drawn game with South Africa in a warm-up game on 11th October 2016, ahead of the 2017 AFCON.
Ahead of the 2019 AFCON Ghana has played against Namibia and South Africa, losing against Namibia while the game against South Africa ended goalless.
After over 180 minutes, the team failed to score a single goal.
Ahead of Ghana’s participation at AFCON 2013 with Kwasi Appiah as head coach, Ghana scored 6 goals in two preparatory matches while the team has failed to score a single goal in two pre-tournament games under his second stint.
These statistics enumerated above clearly reflect the current form of the national team. It also gives the coach an opportunity to fine-tune the tactics, the fitness level and other strategies he can deploy to have a successful Africa Cup of Nations.
However, one must state that a team's success in a tournament is not solely reliant on friendly games. The results of these friendlies do not have a greater impact on the team’s performance but can guide it as to how the team is likely to fare in the tournament itself.
Should Ghanaian's be worried? Well, only time will tell.
Long live Ghana and long live our beloved Black Stars.