When South Africa faces Ghana on Friday evening, it will be more than just a third place ranking match, because at the end there will not only be a bronze medal but also and especially the qualification to Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
Having missed the direct qualification by being eliminated in the semifinals, both teams will give their best to grab the last of three tickets reserved for African teams in the quadrennial multi-sports event.
After two eventful weeks in Cairo, both the South Africans and the Black Meteors of Ghana will do whatever it takes to have a successful final step, which won’t be but with going home with the Olympics ticket in hand.
South Africa is the only surviving team from the trio that bore the continent’s flag in Rio 2016. They are dreaming of consecutive appearance in the Olympic Games, with their coach David Notoane leading the pack that conceded no goals in the group stage, before bowing to hosts Egypt 3-0 in the semifinal.
On the other hand, Ghana is looking forward for an Olympic return for the first time since Athens 2004. Being the first African country to go to the podium with bronze medals finish in Barcelona 1992, the Black Meteors suffered the heartbreak of shootout defeat in the semifinals, and Coach Ibrahim Tanko would seek compensation in the classification match.
Friday 22 November
3rd place match
South Africa v Ghana – Cairo International Stadium (16:00 local time, 14:00 GMT)
What they said
David Notoane (Coach, South Africa)
It will be a very difficult match against a good team from Ghana who wants to start again with the Olympic qualification. This match will be all the more difficult because there is nothing left behind. After missing the title, the team is focused on getting this qualification at the Olympics.
Tercious Malepe (Captain, South Africa)
We have forgotten the defeat against Egypt. We are totally focused on this very important match for the South African football. It will not be easy at all, but we have the means to do it.
Ibrahim Tanko (Coach, Ghana)
The semifinal defeat is history now. We spoke with the players and they know the importance of this match. There is one last chance to go to the Olympics and we will do everything not to miss it.
Yaw Yeboah (Captain, Ghana)
It will be a very complicated and tough match. With all what we’ve done, it will be difficult to leave without anything at all. We will give our best to get this Olympic qualification.
curtesy of cafonline.com