Cameroon v Ghana: Confident Appiah takes aim at reigning champion

Cameroon will be looking for a second win in the defence of its AFCON title, but Ghana is upbeat over its own chances.

Ghana has failed to beat the reigning champion in its four previous meetings, a run which its coach, Kwesi Appiah, believes can be snapped on Saturday.   -  AFP

Kwesi Appiah has declared Ghana can finally end its wait for a victory over Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ismailia on Saturday.

Ghana has failed to beat the reigning champion in its four previous meetings in the tournament's history, including a 2-0 reverse at the semifinal stage two years ago.

Now it goes up against each other again in Group F of the 2019 event, with Cameroon already leading the way in the table after opening its title defence with a 2-0 triumph over Guinea-Bissau.

As for the Black Stars, it was held to a 2-2 draw by Benin in a game that saw it play the majority of the second half with 10 men following the dismissal of defender John Boye.

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However, despite only picking up a point from the first outing, coach Appiah is full of confidence that his team can upset the Indomitable Lions.

"We are going to give Cameroon a really good game and I am sure we will emerge victorious," he said on the eve of the fixture.

Brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew grabbed the goals against Benin, though the former is an injury doubt after sitting out training on Thursday. Midfielder Thomas Agyepong, meanwhile, has been ruled out.

Samuel Eto'o - Cameroon's record scorer - visited Clarence Seedorf's squad ahead of its second outing, hoping to inspire the current crop to further success.

"The Ghana game is crucial in qualifying to the next stage," midfielder Georges Mandjeck told the media. "We can win and we'll do our best.

"The coach gave us midfielders advice on how to go about our mission against Ghana."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cameroon - Yaya Banana

The five-time winner was not at its fluent best against Guinea-Bissau - hardly surprising after a pre-tournament pay dispute - but Banana's opener put it on course for victory. While goals may not be part of his remit, the defender should expect to be kept busy by Ghana's forwards.

Ghana - Jordan Ayew

If Andre Ayew is absent from the starting XI, even more responsibility will sit on the shoulders of his younger sibling. Jordan's 42nd-minute strike put his country 2-1 ahead against Benin, though they were unable to retain their advantage in the second half.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Cameroon has won its last two AFCON games against Ghana and is unbeaten in the competition against the Black Stars (W2 D2).
- Cameroon is unbeaten in its last seven games in the Africa Cup of Nations (W4 D3), its longest run since February 2000 – February 2004 (12 games) when it won the 2000 and 2002 tournaments.
- Ghana has won only one of its last five AFCON games (D1 L3) after winning six of its previous seven (D1).
- The Ayew brothers have been involved in 12 of Ghana's last 16 goals in the Africa Cup of Nations (9 goals, 3 assists).

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