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Host nation Ghana will look to start the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations with a bang when they face Gambia in the opening match at Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina on Saturday, kick-off at 15h00 local time.
Known by the nickname ‘Black Stars’, Ghana will be appearing at their fourth successive WAFU tournament and hosting the tournament for the second time in a row.
Their first two tournaments in Nigeria 2010 and 2011 ended with third and fourth-place finishes respectively, while as hosts in the last tournament in 2013 they emerged as champions after topping their group and defeating Senegal 3-1 in the final in Kumasi.
Known by the nickname ‘The Scorpions’, Gambia will be appearing in their second WAFU Nations Cup: they played one of just two matches in the 2002 tournament in Ivory Coast (losing 5-0 to the hosts) before it was cancelled because of the outbreak of a civil war, did not make the cut for the 2010 or 2013 events, and withdrew from the 2011 finals.
The Black Stars’ locally-based team recently failed to qualify for the 2018 African Nations Championship after losing 4-3 on aggregate to Burkina Faso in the final round. They will be keen on an improved showing in the WAFU Nations Cup.
Gambia exited the CHAN qualifiers even earlier, losing 4-0 on aggregate to Mali back in July.
Ghana and Gambia have met in six official international matches, according to FIFA’s statistical database. The Black Stars have claimed four wins compared to just one for the Scorpions, and outscored their opponents eight goals to six.
The winners of this match will occupy position 1 in Group 1 and face either Nigeria or Sierre Leone in their opening second round match.