AFCON 2023: Black Stars over 20 years second group game success record could be a good omen – Chris Hughton

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Ghana coach Chris Hughton is hopeful the country over 20 years record of not losing a second group game in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) will be a good omen.

The Stars, since 1992, have lost just one game on matchday two. Since 2000, the team has either won or drawn on matchday two.

The four times Ghana lost its opening group game, it reached the final twice (2010 and 2015) and the others ended in group stage exit (2006 and 2022).

The four times AFCON champions find themselves in a similar situation having lost its opening game against Cape Verde on Sunday.

But, the over 20 years history suggests that, Ghana could salvage itself on Thursday against Egypt, and Hughton does not disagree.

“Hopefully, this is a good omen that the Black Stars in this same position throughout the years have been able to come through victorious in the second game,” Hughton said in response to the JoySports publication on Wednesday.

“It is something that I am aware of, but I think the biggest motivation for the players is that we are here, we didn’t get the result we needed in the first game – this is the motivation we need for the second game.

“We want to do well in this competition and this is the motivation that we need for this game,” he noted.

Egypt opened its campaign with a point against Mozambique, and would be all out seeking to steady the ship.

Hughton and the players are aware of the task, but the biggest motivation to approach the game is the expectations of fans.

“We are up against a big team successful team in Egypt, this is the motivation, and probably more than anything thing is, we are aware of expectations.

“We have wonderful support behind us and always do and there isn’t one player in the squad, and Jordan’s here having played in many AFCONS before and represented Ghana for so so many years; there isn’t one player in this squad that isn’t aware of what this game means and they’re the biggest motivations that we can give to the players.”

Ghana will play Egypt on Thursday at 20:00 GMT or 8 PM Ghana time.

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