AFCON: Black Stars probable XI against Angola

Estimated read time 4 min read

Ghana goes up against Angola at the 11 November Stadium in Luanda for the second leg of their 2023 African Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifiers. Ghana emerged winners last week thanks to a late goal from Antoine Semenyo deep into injury time.

Head coach Chris Hughton was able to call on a strong lineup with only Andre Ayew and Salisu Mohammed the notable absentees in that game. One was through injury and the former was a technical decision.

However, the coach lost two of the starters in that match to injury with the management needed to get a replacement. Centre-back Alexander Djiku did not travel with the team to Angola due to an injury. In his stead is Amiens SC defender Nicholas Opoku who has been given a late call-up.

Another defender aside from Salisu and Djiku who will miss this afternoon’s encounter is Denis Odoi of Club Brugge. He went off injured during the game in Kumasi and has not been able to recover on time for the fixture.

So with Dede Ayew, Alexander Djiku, Denis Odoi and Salisu Mohammed out, who are the men to do the job for the Black Stars in Angola? Check it out here.

Probable Black Stars XI in AFCON qualifier against Angola

Goalkeeper: Lawrence Ati-Zigi. The FC St. Gallen shot-stopper is slowing warming himself into the hearts of the Ghanaians football fandom and he may just be doing it at the right time. Jojo Wollacott is back in the team but will have to do with the bench as we will stick with Zigi in Luanda.

Left-back: Gideon Mensah will retain his place at the left flank of the defensive quartet following a solid performance in Kumasi.

Right-back: Daniel Amartey. The Leicester defender is noted for his role at the centre of the defence for Ghana but he has from time to time played at the flanks and would be a suitable shift this afternoon for Ghana.

Centre-back: Joseph Aidoo. Perhaps, it is time for Joseph Aidoo to stake a claim to his position at the centre of the defence. And with Salisu and Djiku all absent, there is no better time for the Celta Vigo defender to do it than now. It will be a tall task for him but 26 appearances this season in La Liga is enough to cushion him with confidence to get the job done.

Centre-back: Nicholas Opoku. Partnering with Aidoo will be Amiens centre-back Nicholas Opoku who is a late addition to the squad. He will be eager to earn his fifth cap for his country and it would be a joy to get it from the blast of the referee’s whistle.

Midfield: Thomas Partey will retain his position not only as the midfield general but also as the captain of the side. There is actually no discussion about his capabilities and he will be expected to lead the team to victory.

Salis Abdul Samed in an AFCON qualifying match for Ghana
Salis Abdul Samed playing for Ghana

Midfield: Salis Abdul Samed. In Kumasi, Salis was surprisingly benched with Edmund Addo getting the coach’s node to start the game. However, a masterful display from the Lens midfielder got loud acclaim and he will be sure to get started from the onset. Sorry, Edmund but you have to watch from the bench for until later.

Attacking midfield: Kudus Mohammed. The Ajax superstar will be expected to play as the key architect to create and probably get goals for Ghana. The youngster could fit in as a striker for the side but with natural strikers such as Inaki and Antoine Semenyo in the team, he will be tasked with aiding them from behind.

Right-winger: Jordan Ayew. Others may clamour for the inclusion of Joseph Paintsil or Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer in the team but that will be unlikely considering the work rate of Jordan. Joseph Paintsil surely has a right to claim the position for himself owing to his impressive performance and being one of the most prolific performers in the team but that may just be a little bit later. At least not today.

Left-winger: Kamaldeen Sulemana. The Southampton speedster was good against Angola in Kumasi and will be expected to keep his place in the team. Osman Bukari is definitely an option down the wings too but Sulemana will keep this for today.

Striker: Antoine Semenyo. Here is a massive change. Inaki has yet to break his duck for the Black Stars but if that were to be today it will certainly come as a substitute. Antoine Semenyo has been knocking hard and he just proved why he needs to be given enough time with that late instinctive strike against Angola in Kumasi. Chris should give him his beer by starting him and we expect that to actually happen.

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