AFCON 2021: Our target is to win the trophy – Black Stars midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey

Emmanuel Lomotey

Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey believes the Black Stars can win their first Africa Cup of Nations trophy since 1982 next year in Cameroon.

But to achieve that, the Black Stars must first progress from Group C, which contains former champions Morocco, Gabon and Comoros, who will be making their first appearance at the continental showpiece.

Black Stars will begin their campaign against Morocco – a side they lost 1-0 to in a friendly earlier this year – on January 10 and play Gabon and Comoros respectively, all in Yaoundé.

“I’m very optimistic Ghana can qualify from Group C because of the quality of the Black Stars. I know Morocco can be our major obstacle but we can triumph over them. Recently, we played a friendly game with Morocco so we know their style of play. So I believe we can beat Morocco and qualify from the group stages as well,” France-based Lomotey said in an interview with Onua Sports.

“I was monitoring the AFCON 2021 draw with Nicolas Opoku and I told him the group Ghana find itself in is a good one and we must qualify. We shouldn’t underestimate any opponent in Ghana’s group”.

The winners and runners-up in each pool, plus the best four third-placed teams will advance to the knockout phase.

The four-time African champions in the last edition in 2019 suffered a shock round of 16 exit as they were beaten on penalties by Tunisia. It was the team’s worst performance in recent years following six straight semifinals and two finals.

“Our target is to win the next AFCON. We know Ghanaians are expecting us to bring the trophy home and we will do our possible best to secure that,” he added.

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The tournament will run from 9 January to 6 February, with Ghana hoping to be involved in the final match and winning the trophy for the first time in four decades.

Lomotey, a regular for the Black Stars since Charles Akonnor took charge last year, is likely to be included in the squad for the tournament.

The Amiens player has featured in four of the last eight Black Stars games and has been named in the squad for next month’s 2022 World Cup Qualifiers against Ethiopia and South Africa.