#TotalAFCON2019: The uneasy task that looks easy – Ghana vs Guinea-Bissau

On paper, they are the pushovers in the group, they are the underdogs, the infants, the newcomers, the odd one out, the easy side … You can give them all the belittling adjectives you can find but they will not define any of those adjectives listed above.

Guinea-Bissau look like the easiest side the Black Stars will be facing in the final Group F clash but the seemingly easy task could be uneasy for the Black Stars.

History has it that Ghana have struggled against minnows at several tournaments and even in friendly encounters, and Guinea-Bissau could be one of them.

Yes, it looks very easy on paper for the Black Stars to just sweep aside the Wild Dogs considering the fact the one Black Stars players’ transfer fee is enough to buy the entire Guinea-Bissau team.

While Ghana players play in top European leagues, Guinea-Bissau players are yet to rise to that level, making some of the Black Stars players, their models.

But at major tournaments like this, shocks are always expected and already, Madagascar have done it against the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Madagascar are first timers when it comes to the AFCON but the task against the Super Eagles of Nigeria looked even easier for Madagascar to accomplish.

Isn’t it shocking that Madagascar will be in a group with Nigeria and end up topping the group while Nigeria make do with the second spot?

Football has come a long way and anyone who considers the other a minnow, is perhaps prepared to be shocked to the marrow.

Ghana have always struggled against minnows on several platforms and the earlier the Black Stars take a lesson from Nigeria’s humiliation by Madagascar, the better.

In recent years, Ghana have some unforgettable memories when it comes to meeting opponents considered minnows.

In 2006, Ghana were shocked at the group stage of the AFCON by a Benjani Mwaruwari-led Zimbabwe side after everyone felt it was a done deal for the Black Stars.

Ghana were kicked out of the competition in shock as Zimbabwe registered a 2-1 win over the Black Stars.

Ghana hosted the tournament in 2008 and as the slogan ‘Host and Win’ was up high in the sky, Namibia sent signals that the Black Stats were not ready to really ‘host and win’.

Despite losing 5-1 to Morocco in the group stage, Namibia held the Black Stars so tight that it took a Junior Agogo strike to win the game for Ghana by a lone goal.

Ghana again struggled against Botswana in the opening game of the 2012 edition of the AFCON and had to struggle to manage just a goal against the same Botswana side that were mauled 6-1 by Guinea.

DR Congo also held the Black Stars to a hotly contested 2-2 stalemate in the opening game of the 2013 edition of the AFCON and perhaps, these are enough lessons to tell the Black Stars the job is not done yet.

In a few hours, the Black Stars of Ghana will lock horns with the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau as the four time champions look to secure a ticket to the round of 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

After watching the two games played by Guinea-Bissau – against Cameroon and Benin – I swiftly concluded that this isn’t a side Ghana can easily run over.

It must be noted that all the two goals Cameroon scored against them came in the second half, and that perhaps should tell you how organised they are defensively.

With Benin, they opened up their game as they did not have too much respect for Benin as they had for Cameroon and their performance, confidence, build up and distribution were superb.

They may have unknown players but Soriano Manconi Mané (20), Piqueti Brito e Silva (18), Mamadu Tuncara Gomes (10) and Mama Balde (17) do not show signs of nervousness or too much respect for their opponents.

Despite Stephanie Sessegnon returning to play against Guinea-Bissau on Saturday, Michel Dussuyer, at a point had to coil for cover as the Wild Dogs really looked wild.

This is a side that will play deep low and catch on counter very close like Cameroon but Ghana will have to push their our build up position high up and switch passes and make more runs in the half spaces.

Guinea-Bissau will follow the trend of minnows that have faced Ghana, and the Black Stars must be cautious in the game if they want to in and pick a ticket to the next stage of the competition.

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