Two familiar foes face each other again, as the Black Meteors of Ghana and Cameroon U23 square off at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday evening.
Both debutants at the tournament, the two sides will face each other in the second Group A match at 10pm (8pm GMT).
Black Meteors coach Ibrahim Tanko will be coming up against his old friend and former team manager when he was assistant coach of the Indomitable Lions four years ago, a duel that he is really relishing.
“Rigo is a very good friend of mine and I worked with him when I was with Cameroon. We also speak every time we have the time. When I was coach he was the team manager so I am very happy that he’s qualified the team and am looking forward to the match, the former Indomitable Lions assistant coach said at the pre-match press conference.
Coach Tanko insists that the absence of the domestic league in Ghana will not affect the team’s performance in the tournament.
“Its true we’ve not had competitive domestic football in about a year but we also have players in foreign leagues so we came here with a good blend of local and foreign-based players for this competition”.
“Though we didn’t get all the players we wanted I believe in the players I’ve invited and I believe they will show what they can do. I am very happy with the performance I’ve seen from them so far”
“On the pitch, we will do our maximum best to win the game. My team is ready and we are to map up a strategy to help us qualify to the Olympics”, the Black Meteors head coach emphasized.
Ghana qualified to the competition after edging out Tunisia in the final stage of the qualifiers while Cameroon also accounted for Tunisia to book a place in the final eight for the tournament.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2011 All Africa Games where Ghana beat Cameroon 1-0 and went on to win the competition.
Ghana will face hosts Egypt in the second group match before playing against Mali in the final match of the group stage.
Best two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals where the winner and two runner ups will secure tickets to represent Africa at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.