Ghana begins the quest for a place at the final tournament away to Algeria on Friday in the first leg clash of the penultimate round.
The Black Satellites, continental and global champions in 2009, has a checkered history in the biennial championship and are hoping to reach the final tournament this time after missing out on the last edition in 2017 in Zambia.
The new assemblage of U-20 stars under the technical guidance of coach Jimmy Cobbinah insists the hour is right to bring back honour to the nation, and claim their place back amongst the elites.
After a friendly against local side, Attram de Visser, last week which ended 1-1, captain Konda Issahaku is optimistic they are ready for the Algerian challenge.
We have been in camp for the past seven weeks and we have been taken through some drills and tactical play as well. We have also had the opportunity to watch clips of how the Algerians generally play and have mapped up strategies to undo them on Friday in their own backyard, Konda confidently mentioned.
Konda, a member of the class of 2016 that failed to qualify for the last edition in Zambia is hoping the team can go farthest this time.
This for me is very personal because I was part of the squad that failed to qualify in 2016. We were all very disheartened because we needed just one goal to sail through but unfortunately we couldn’t make it.
Destiny has handed me another chance and also in the role to lead the team as captain. I pray we return to the u-20 AFCON under my captaincy, he added.
Ghana failed to qualify for the last edition in Zambia after a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Senegal and will be hoping to make amends in the next edition in Niger, according to head coach Cobblah.
I am very hopeful that we are going to qualify this time round. The players have been in camp for some time now and the cohesion is growing steadily. We want to take one match at a time and for now, it’s the Algerians that stand in our way and we have to scale over it and move on to the next stage.
We are going for a win on Friday and won’t play defensive. Bearing in mind that we have the return leg too, so we are ready for the Algerians, he added before the team departed from Accra on Wednesday.
There will be 13 other matches at the weekend with reigning African champions, Zambia away to Rwanda in Kigali whilst record winners, Nigeria also face Guinea Bissau away in Bissau.
The winner over the two legs will qualify to the penultimate round of the qualifiers, which will give birth to seven teams to join host Niger for the final tournament scheduled for 2-17 February 2019.
Friday, 11 May 2018
Algeria vs Ghana
Saturday, 12 May 2018
Mauritania vs Guinea
Guinea Bissau vs Nigeria
Burkina Faso vs Libya
Gabon vs Cote d’Ivoire
Rwanda vs Zambia
Burundi vs Sudan
Uganda vs Cameroon
Mozambique vs South Africa
Malawi vs Angola
Botswana vs Congo
Senegal vs Egypt
Sunday, 13 May 2018
Gambia vs Benin
Tanzania vs Mali
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football