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The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) since its inauguration in 1957 has seen some football greats the world has ever seen with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Jay-Jay Okocha, Sadio Mané and Asamoah Gyan among others, face off against one another. The continent’s biennial tournament has seen 14 different countries lift the coveted trophy, with Ghana becoming the first country to win the title on four occasions and coming as runners-up a further five (5) times. However, the Black Stars have not been victorious since landing their fourth trophy in 1982, where they defeated the host nation, Lybia, in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 stalemate.

A decade after their last conquest, the Black Stars, captained by the legendary maestro Abedi Ayew Pele, had another chance to extend their trophy haul in Senegal 1992. The Black Stars were among the favourites, boasting a talented squad, which included Tony Yeboah, Kwesi Appiah, Anthony Baffoe, and Prince Polley, among others. Ultimately, Abedi Pele missed out on the finals against la Côte d’Ivoire through suspension after he put in a Man of The Match display in the semi-finals victory versus the Super Eagles of Nigeria. His suspension was celebrated wildly by the Ivorians as the maestro had been in the zone throughout the tournament, deservedly being awarded the Player of the Tournament. Predictably, the Black Stars came short by losing in the penalty shoot-out after a goaless draw in regular time.

Abedi Pele

The two titans locked horns again in the AFCON 2015 finals hosted by Equatorial Guinea. The Black Stars entered the tournament with a usually talented squad. André Ayew, son of the legendary Abedi Ayew Pele, carried the mantle of his father to lead the stars to the finals, almost matching his father’s personal feat two (2) decades earlier, however, history was to repeat itself. The Black Stars tasted defeat against the same opponent for the second time in their history, after another 90-minute deadlock. Les Éléphants emerged victorious in the penalty shoot-out where all 22 players took a turn on the spot kick.

Almost a decade later, the Black Stars of Ghana have the chance to break the hearts of their bitter rivals and end their long drought as la Côte d’Ivoire is the host nation for AFCON 2023 scheduled for 13/01/2024 to 11/02/2024. Lifting the title right under their noses will be a sweet revenge, and Ghanaians will be hopeful to win the title for the fifth time, ending a four (4) decade wait of glory.

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