Ghana coach CK Akonnor believes pressure will be on hosts South Africa to get a positive result against the Black Stars in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash on Thursday.
Tied at the top of the table in Group C, a win for either nation in the penultimate matchday fixture will seal qualification to the continental championship to be held in Cameroon.
In the reverse fixture two years ago, hosts Ghana secured a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Thomas Partey and debutant Mohammed Kudus.
“It is a different ball game altogether [from the first leg in Ghana]. That was our home. This time we are in an away match,” Akonnor told GFA Communications on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s big duel.
“It’s their home ground, the pressure is on them. Psychologically, they would have to win. And we’ll also have to mount a strategy that will give us victory.
“I am very hopeful, for what I’ve seen the last weeks. For what’ we’ve worked on, if we’re able to implement it here, we’ll get a good result.”
Pressure on South Africa and Ghana to ensure a win has been heightened by Sudan’s 2-0 away win over Sao Tome and Principe on Wednesday, a result which sends the North Africans joint-top of the table and puts South Africa in a near must-win situation on Wednesday ahead of their final group game away in Omdurman.
The Black Stars, on the other hand, have themselves to blame for finding themselves in a tight situation, owing to a 1-0 defeat to the Sudanese in their last match.
“There’s always pressure, whether they win or not. In a match like this, it’s important for us to do as much as we can to qualify tomorrow. We’re not going to look at what Sudan and others have done,’ Akonnor said.
“We have to look at ourselves as a football nation, our people are hungry, they want to see us qualify, and so I am not looking at them [Sudan]. It’s important for us to do well to qualify tomorrow and get the necessary result.
“We have players who are experienced, who understand what time it is, and what we have to do at every given time. Against Sudan, it was unfortunate in the last minutes we lost.
“We wouldn’t have been thinking differently about qualification today. But we are men enough to say it is time for us to deliver. I am very sure tomorrow we will do well.”
Ghana are chasing their 23rd appearance at the Cup of Nations.