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AFCON 2023: Ghana’s mathematical lenses in focus 

AFCON 2023: Ghana’s mathematical lenses in focus

Ghana’s hopes of advancing to the round of 16 in the AFCON 2023 tournament are hanging by a thread. Despite drawing 2-2 with Mozambique in their last Group B game, the team finds themselves on the brink of elimination.

The Black Stars were in control for most of the game until the 91st minute when substitute Andre Ayew committed a penalty, allowing Mozambique to score and tie the game. Four minutes later, Mozambique capitalized on a corner that was given when Richard Ofori inexplicably touched the ball that seemed destined to go out.

With only 2 points from their three matches, Ghana currently sits in 3rd place in Group B. They lost 2-1 to Cape Verde in their first game and drew 2-2 against Egypt in their second.

Although the situation seems dire, Ghana has a slight chance to qualify. In this tournament, four 3rd place teams will advance to the round of 16. However, host nation Côte d’Ivoire and Namibia are already ahead of Ghana in the pecking order for 4th place teams to qualify, both having secured 3 points.

This leaves Ghana with only two possible paths to qualification. Algeria (2 points), Zambia (2 points), Ghana (2 points), and Cameroon (1 point) are currently vying for those two spots. The other three teams still have a game remaining, while Ghana has played all their matches.

For Ghana to progress, they need Zambia to lose to DR Congo, Algeria to lose to Tanzania, and Cameroon to not defeat The Gambia. If these results occur, all four teams will be tied on 2 points. The determining factor would then be goal difference.

Currently, the Black Stars have a goal difference of -1, while Zambia and Algeria have a goal difference of 0, and Cameroon has -2. Therefore, either Algeria or Zambia must lose by a margin of at least two goals to improve Ghana’s goal difference and secure their progression.

The math may seem convoluted and confusing, but even with a slim chance of qualification (0.0001), it is our duty to inform you that the possibility remains.

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