Look ahead to Sunday’s third match at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with our Ghana vs Cape Verde prediction and preview.

Ghana vs Cape Verde: Pre-Match Facts

  • According to the Opta supercomputer, Ghana are predicted to be big favourites to get their AFCON campaign off to a victorious start, winning this contest in 53.8% of pre-match simulations.
  • Ghana and Cape Verde are facing each other for the second time at the Africa Cup of Nations. Their only previous meeting saw Ghana win 2-0 in the 2013 quarter-finals.
  • This is Ghana’s 24th appearance in the AFCON, the most after Egypt (26) and Ivory Coast (25). The Black Stars won the tournament in four of their first seven appearances (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982) but have won none of their subsequent 16.
  • Ghana have won only one of their last nine matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (D4 L4), that being a 2-0 group stage victory over Guinea-Bissau in 2019. They were knocked out in the group stages of the last AFCON.
  • This is Cape Verde’s fourth appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, all coming since 2013. Six of their 11 previous matches at the tournament have ended in a draw, with their two wins taking place against Angola in 2013 (2-1) and Ethiopia in 2022 (1-0), both in the group stages.
  • Cape Verde have qualified from the AFCON group stages on two previous occasions (2013, 2021) but have never won a game in the knockout phase of the competition. In fact, they have lost only one of their nine group matches (W2 D6), against Burkina Faso in January 2022 (1-0).
  • Cape Verde have never lost their opening match at an Africa Cup of Nations (W1 D2).
  • Only one of Cape Verde’s 11 previous games at the AFCON has produced more than two goals.
  • Cape Verde’s eight goals in the qualifiers for this year’s tournament were scored by eight different players.
  • Mohammed Kudus was directly involved in 50% of Ghana’s goals in the qualifiers for this year’s tournament, scoring three times and assisting one (4/8).
  • If he plays, this will be André Ayew’s eighth Africa Cup of Nations, which will equal the record held by Cameroon’s Rigobert Song and Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan. If he scores, he will set a new record of having found the net in seven different AFCON tournaments.

Match Preview

Expectations for Ghana are arguably at their lowest in a generation, with their performance at the last Africa Cup of Nations statistically their worst ever showing. They head into the 2023 edition eager to prove a point and that quest begins against Cape Verde at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny on Sunday.

The Black Stars should have enough quality in their squad to see them through a Group B that also contains record champions Egypt and Mozambique, but beyond that there’s real doubt about whether they can go deep into the tournament, with results over the past year or so seeing them drop out of Africa’s top 10 according to the FIFA rankings ahead of this tournament.

African teams FIFA rankings pre-AFCON

Nevertheless, Chris Hughton’s side at least did enough to book their ticket to Ivory Coast, doing so as winners of qualifying Group E by finishing above Angola, Central African Republic and Madagascar. They went unbeaten in their group but drew all three away matches to finish with 12 points from their six games.

This will be their 24th AFCON participation and have won the tournament four times, with only Egypt (7) and Cameroon (5) surpassing that. However, they’ve not won it since 1982, when they defeated hosts Libya 7-6 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the final.

Two years ago, it felt like they were further away from glory than ever before. They didn’t make it out of their group, finishing bottom with a single point behind Morocco, Gabon and Comoros. It was a far cry from their run of reaching at least the semi-finals in all six AFCON tournaments between 2008 and 2017.

Ghana’s opponents on Sunday, Cape Verde, will be competing in the tournament for the fourth time.

Their best performance came in 2013 when they reached the quarter-finals before losing 2-0 to the Black Stars. They also reached the knockout stage of the 2021 edition, going out in the last 16 to eventual champions Senegal.

Cape Verde qualified for AFCON 2023 as runners-up in Group B ahead of Togo and Eswatini, finishing only one point behind section winners Burkina Faso. They amassed 10 points from their six games, with a late defeat to Togo in the final round of fixtures ultimately inconsequential for their qualification. That being said, given they went into Matchday 6 level on points with Burkina Faso, that defeat did deny the Islanders top spot.

Ghana vs Cape Verde Head-to-Head

Ghana and Cape Verde have met just once before at the AFCON – after all, the latter had never even qualified for the tournament before 2013.

As mentioned before, that past meeting came during Cape Verde’s debut campaign in 2013 as Ghana ran out 2-0 winners in the quarter-finals. A Mubarak Wakaso double – the clincher coming in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time – earned the Black Stars a 2-0 victory at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Ghana vs Cape Verde Prediction

Opta match prediction Ghana vs Cape Verde AFCON 2023

Ghana are backed to begin their 2023 AFCON campaign with a victory by the Opta supercomputer. They won 53.8% of the pre-match simulations, compared to 23.6% going the way of Cape Verde and 22.6% ending in a draw.

In the week leading up to AFCON 2023, our pre-tournament predictions had Ghana going all the way and lifting the trophy in 5.3% of scenarios – that made them ninth favourites, which tallies fairly closely with them being ranked 11th on the continent by FIFA.

Below you’ll find the current, up-to-date chances of progression for both teams all the way through AFCON 2023 according to the Opta supercomputer.

Ghana vs Cape Verde Squads

Ghana: Richard Ofori, Jojo Wollacott, Lawrence Ati Zigi, Daniel Amartey, Alidu Seidu, Fatawu Hamidu, Alexander Djiku, Gideon Mensah, Denis Odoi, Mohammed Salisu, Nicholas Opoku, Richmond Lamptey, Salis Abdul Samed, Majeed Ashimeru, Osman Bukari, Mohammed Kudus, Iddrisu Baba, Elisha Owusu, André Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Jonathan Sowah, Kingsley Schindler, Iñaki Williams, Ernest Nuamah, Ransford Königsdörffer, Antoine Semenyo, Joseph Paintsil. 

Coach: Chris Hughton

Cape Verde: Márcio da Rosa, Vózinha, Dylan Silva, Stopira, Dylan Tavares, João Correia, Logan Costa, Steven Moreira, Pico, Diney Borges, Kenny Rocha, Laros Duarte, Deroy Duarte, Kevin Pina, Cuca, Patrick Andrade, Jamiro Monteiro, João Paulo, Ryan Mendes, Willy Semedo, Garry Rodrigues, Jovane Cabral, Bebé, Bryan Teixeira, Hélio Varela, Gilson Benchimol. 

Coach: Bubista 

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