AFCON 2023: Lacklustre Black Stars can still qualify for round 16 in convoluted mathematics

Ghana drew 2-2 with Mozambique in their last Group B game, which has left the team on the brink of exiting the Africa Cup of Nations tournament at the group stage.

The Black Stars appeared to be cruising for the majority of the game, until the 91st minute, when substitute Andre Ayew conceded a penalty for the Mambas to pull one back, before they scored the equaliser four minutes later from a corner, which was conceded when Richard Ofori inexplicably touched the ball which appeared to be heading out.

The result has left Ghana 3rd in Group B with only 2 points from their three games played so far, having lost 2-1 to Cape Verde in their first game and drawing 2-2 in their second against Egypt .

And the Black Stars are certainly down at the moment, but not completely out, at least not technically anyway, even if they harbor only the slimmest of chances to qualify.

Four 3rd place teams will qualify to the round of 16 at this competition, and with host nation Côte d’Ivoire finishing 3rd with 3 points, and Namibia currently ranked 3rd in their group with 3 points, both teams are already ahead of the Black Stars in the pecking order of 4th place teams to qualify.

That leaves only 2 routes through which the Black Stars can qualify.

Those two places are currently contested for by Algeria (2 points), Zambia (2points), Ghana (2points) and Cameroon (1 point). The other three teams all still have a game left, with Ghana having played all their games.

So in order for Ghana to qualify, Zambia must lose to DR Congo, Algeria must also lose to Tanzania, Cameroon must not beat The Gambia.

If that happens, Zambia will remain on 2 points, Algeria also remains on 2 points and Cameroon will also get up to 2 points with a draw.

It will then get down to Goal Difference. The Black Stars currently have a GD of -1, and Zambia and Algeria have a GD of 0, while Cameroon have a GD of -2.

So one of Algeria and Zambia must lose by at least a 2-goal margin, to swing the GD in favour of the Black Stars, with all the others also losing of course, before Ghana can sneak through.

Yes, I know the math is convoluted and confusing, and you have probably given up already.

But it is still a duty to inform you that the chance exists, even if it’s 0.0001 at this point.

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