Boost for Bafana Bafana as Ghana name 'weakened' squad for crucial AFCON qualifier

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Jordan Ayew (Getty Images)
Jordan Ayew (Getty Images)

Bafana Bafana on Tuesday received a major boost in their quest to qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament after Group C leaders Ghana named a weakened squad for their trip to South Africa.

Head coach Charles Akonnor will be without some of his star names for Thursday's clash at FNB Stadium as the Black Stars aim to maintain their lead atop of the group standings.

The Ayew brothers of Andre - the national team captain - and Jordan are set to miss the trip to Johannesburg alongside Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey.

The trio will link up with the squad later for their final qualifier at home to Sao Tome and in skipping the trip to South Africa will not have to undergo a Covid-19 quarantine period on their return to the UK.

South Africa has been named on a UK "red-list" of countries with current travel bans where new Covid variants have been found.

This will come as welcome news to Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki with his side needing to avoid defeat in their final two fixtures to qualify for next year's tournament.

Bafana Bafana face the toughest final two matches in the group with a trip to Sudan following a home fixture against Ghana.

Ntseki's side occupy second position in Group C on nine points - equal to Ghana in first - thanks to an inferior goal difference. They are followed by Sudan in third on six points and Sao Tome with zero points.

Kick-off is at 18:00 on Thursday.

Ghana squad to face South Africa:

Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Razak Abalora (Asante Kotoko, Ghana), Eric Ofori Antwi (Medeama SC, Ghana), Danlad Ibrahim (Asante Kotoko, Ghana)

Defenders: Baba Abdul Rahman (PAOK, Greece), Benson Annan (MLK Zilina, Slovakia), Philemon Baffuor (Dreams FC, Ghana), Imoro Ibrahim (Asante Kotoko), Nicholas Opoku (Amiens SC, France), Ganiyu Ismael (Asante Kotoko, Ghana), Joseph Adjei (Legon Cities), Yussif Mubarik (Asante Kotoko)

Midfielders: Kudus Mohammed (Ajax Amsterdam, Holland), Mubarak Wakaso (Jiangsu Suning FC, China), Afriyie Acquah (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Emmanuel Lomotey (Amiens SC, France), Gladson Awako (Great Olympics, Ghana), Justice Blay (Medeama SC, Ghana), Kwame Afriyie Poku (Colchester United, England), Osman Bukari (Gent, Belgium), Joseph Esso (Dreams FC, Ghana)

Forwards: Emmanuel Boateng (Dalian Professional, China), Emmanuel Gyasi (Spezia, Italy), Kwame Opoku (Asante Kotoko, Ghana), John Antwi (Pyramids FC, Egypt), Kwasi Okyere Wriedt (Willem II, Holland), Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor, Turkey)

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