Ghana are one of the most successful teams at the Africa Cup of Nations, having won the trophy on four occasions. Those victories, though, were achieved long ago and most of the current football generation didn’t see the celebrations that followed.
The first title was won in 1963, when the West African nation hosted the tournament for the very first time. It was followed by another triumph in 1965 in Tunisia, when the Black Stars defeated the hosts 3-2 after extra time to claim their second title. The era was dubbed the ‘Ghanaian Domination’ by the media at that time.
However, that domination would gradually ebb in subsequent editions, as Ghana recorded two successive runners-up finishes in 1968 and 1970.
That decline continued in the years that followed, and between 1972 and 1976 the country failed to qualify.
Ghana bounced back to win the competition in 1978 at home and according to local experts, playing on home soil provided extra motivation for the players, who won four of the five games played, drawing one, against Nigeria.
The next Afcon was in Nigeria in 1980. The Black Stars, who were defending champions, were knocked out in the first round.
Two years later, they became champions for the fourth time, in Libya, after financial and political situations back home almost prevented their participation.
Although Ghana haven’t walked away with the trophy since then, they have been regulars at the finals, only missing out on qualification four times since their 1982 triumph.
A total of 18 Afcon finals have been played since then, with Ghana appearing in the last seven.
In all 21 Afcon participations since 1963, Ghana have won four titles (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982); have been runners-up five times (1968, 1970, 1992, 2010 and 2015); were third-placed once (2008); fourth-placed four times (1996, 2012, 2013 and 2017); and quarter-finalists three times (1994, 2000 and 2002).
At Egypt 2019, where 24 teams will be represented, Ghana’s mission will be to end a 37-year wait for a fifth title in perhaps the most difficult tournament ever.