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Who from Gabon or Ghana will directly join the knockout stages of the CAN? Group C will deliver its verdict on Tuesday, with a clear advantage to the Panthers, opposed to Morocco, already qualified, while the Black Stars will face the Comoros. In Group B, Senegal and Guinea will also engage in a duel from distance, with Malawi in ambush.
The CAN-2022 group stage is coming to an end. After Group A, which saw the qualification of Cameroon and Burkina Faso on Monday, it is the turn of Groups B and C to know their outcome, Tuesday, January 18.
With on the program a promising distance duel between Gabon and Ghana, which could well be one of the first heavyweights of the competition not to see the eighth. The Black Stars, with only one small point, must indeed win against Comoros, Petit Poucet of the competition, while hoping that Gabon does not win against Morocco, already qualified.
On paper, it’s a match well within Ghana’s reach, but after already two disappointing matches, an entry defeat against Morocco (0-1), and a draw conceded at the very end of the match against Gabon (1-1), the Black Stars will have to dispel their doubts to win.
Gabon decimated by Covid-19
For its part, Gabon (4 pts) will bravely play its luck against Morocco. And this despite the cases of Covid-19 which have decimated the team since the start of the competition. On the eve of the match, Bouanga, Ngouali, Sambissa, Fotso and Eneme tested positive. In addition to the stars Aubameyang and Lemina, victims of complications, and who even had to leave Cameroon. “Given the medical concern that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina encountered, in agreement with the doctor, my federation president and the players, we made the wise decision to have them return to their clubs so that they could be treated. and be taken care of”, explained the coach of Gabon, Patrice Neveu, in a press conference.
Behind the scenes, it is rumored that this exfiltration is actually due to disciplinary problems.
The real reason for Aubameyang and Lemina’s dismissal.
I learn from an internal source that the dismissal of Aubameyang and Lemina in their respective clubs would be more for a reason of indiscipline than for “medical reasons” (which are real).
The explanation here 👇🏽 #TeamGabon pic.twitter.com/x0EWfbIRJ8
– Freddhy Koula (@FreddhyKoula) January 17, 2022
A new blow for the Panthers, but which did not prevent them from delivering two convincing performances against the Comoros (1-0) and especially Ghana (1-1), with this equalizer snatched from courage at the very end of the match.
Opposite, Morocco, which already has its ticket for the eighth, should also present itself with a revamped team. “We are going to make some changes, but the objective remains the same: victory,” coach Vahid Halilhodzic said at a press conference. “We came here to finish first in the group.”
Senegal, Guinea… or Malawi?
A little earlier, group C will also give its verdict, with again a duel from a distance between the two favorites of the group, Senegal (4 pts) and Guinea (4 pts). And if the Teranga Lions are favorites against Malawi (3 pts), there is no question for Meke Mwase’s men to give up: “We will give everything we have in our guts to qualify for the round of 16” , said the coach of the Flames. “We prepared well. We are working hard to win the game against Senegal.”
Guinea, it is also favorite against Zimbabwe, already eliminated. But she will have to do without her striker Morgan Guilavogui, positive for Covid-19. Note that this match will be refereed by a female quartet, a first at the CAN. Rwandan Salima Rhadia Mukansanga, already the first female fourth referee of a CAN, Guinea-Malawi match last week, will be on the field this time. Cameroonian Carine Atemzabong and Moroccan Fatiha Jermoumi will assist Mukansanga, and the video referee will be Moroccan Bouchra Karboubi.