Black Meteors coach, Ibrahim Tanko, has expressed his team’s unwavering determination to clinch the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations trophy as they prepare for this year’s edition, set to kick off later this month in Morocco.
While securing qualification for the Olympic Games in Paris remains their primary goal, Tanko and his players are aiming to bring glory to Ghana by lifting the continental title.
Having narrowly missed out on Olympic qualification four years ago, where they finished fourth in Egypt, the Black Meteors are fueled with motivation to go the distance this time around.
Their heartbreaking loss in a penalty shootout prevented them from securing bronze and a spot in Tokyo. However, their impressive victory over a formidable Algerian side in the qualifiers to secure their place in Morocco has bolstered their confidence.
Qualifying for the Olympic Games holds great significance for Ghana’s men’s football team, as they have not participated in the competition since 2004.
Reflecting on the previous disappointment, Tanko stated, “The last time we were at the AFCON, we were all disappointed because we were one penalty away from qualifying for the Olympic Games. This time around, I am confident we have quality players from the qualifiers. We are one of the eight teams capable of winning the trophy.”
While Olympic qualification is a significant achievement, Tanko emphasized the team’s ambition to go beyond that. He added, “If we qualify [for the Olympics], it’s good, but we will still strive to win the cup.”
The Black Meteors have arrived in Egypt to continue their preparations, where they will engage in an international friendly against the young Pharaohs on June 15. Additionally, they have a second friendly match scheduled against an undisclosed opponent before heading to Morocco.
The U-23 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Morocco will commence on June 24 and conclude on July 7, 2023. Ghana has been drawn into a group alongside the host nation Morocco, Guinea, and Congo.