Kwesi Appiah and Andre Ayew celebrate a goal
Thursday Feb 05, 2015. 09:07
The hosts Equatorial Guinea face a tough test when they take on the Black Stars of Ghana in the second semi-final clash of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Thursday.
The hosts who have had some questionable decisions favour them in the competition will be making their first away trip to the smaller 15,000- seater Malabo Stadium.
Coach Esteban Becker’s team will have to be at their best against a hungry Ghana side that has showed that they have what it takes to score goals. However, having reached the semi-final stage without a loss since the competition started, one wonders if the hosts can cause yet another upset.
The Nzalang Nacional as the Equatorial Guinea team is called drew with Congo Brazzaville and Burkina Faso before stopping Gabon and moving on to eject Tunisia at the quarter final stage.
But for Coach Avram Grant’s team they started with a loss to Senegal before putting their act together to beat Algeria and South Africa in the Group stage. They showed more improvement when they demolished Guinea 3-0 in the quarter final match.
Interestingly CAF has appointed the controversial referee, Eric Arnaud Otogo-Castane to handle the match, but Grant has said they will be prepared for whatever kind of officiating on that day.
Having netted seven goals in the tournament so far, the Black Stars are favourites to win, although they will keep their fingers crossed on the availability of their injured skipper Asamoah Gyan. However, with the likes of Andre Ayew who has proved very pivotal for the Ghana team in this competition, Kwesi Appiah and Christian Atsu, the Black Stars still possess the attacking force that can rain in goals.
Becker who said early in the week that reaching the semi-final is already history made will hope that his star player Javier Angel Balboa Osa, skipper Emilio Nsue Lopez, Enrique Boula Senobua and goalkeeper Felipe Ovono Ovono will be motivated to push their team an extra mile.