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Tipped as one of the favourites to win this years Africa Cup of Nations, Ghanas shine once again faded when it came to crunch time.
Entering into a relatively easy group, given the nature of the talent lined up in Goran Stevanovics squad, the Black Stars certainly did not live up to their potential.
Ghana did the absolute minimum to ensure a 1-0 victory over debutants Botswana as well as in their drawn final Group D game with Guinea.
It was no different in the quarterfinals as the final remaining North African sideTunisia managed to push the Black Stars all the way into extra time.
It took a 101st minute Dede Ayew goal to break the deadlock.
Discipline was also an underlying problem as they managed to pick up ten yellow cards as well as three reds: Derek Boateng, Isaac Vorsah and John Mensah the culprits.
Ghana did however make it through to the semifinals where they buckled under the pressure and lost to eventual winners Zambia. They then finished fourth, losing out to their group rivals Mali.
Ghana are among the two title favourites for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations after giants Nigeria and Cameroon failed to qualify for the continent's flagship tournament.
The Black Stars will be making their 18th appearance and off the back of their impressive recent performances, the West Africans are tipped for the title.
Superstitious fans are hoping the rule of progression will count in Ghana favour so they can win the title, having finished third and second in 2008 and 2010 respectively
With two impressive World Cup appearances under their belts, there will rarely be a better chance to win a fifth African crown.
Indeed, a first trophy since1982 would restore much-needed sheen to Ghana's illustrious record in the competition.
Yet coach Goran Stevanovic must make do without midfielders Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien, the heartbeat of the Ghanaian side.
Injury means Chelsea star Essien will not play in the tournament while Appiah has retired from international football.
But in the absence of the duo many talented players have emerged including AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng and Marseille star player Andre Dede Ayew.
Udinese duo of Agyemang Baduand Kwadwo Asamoah will be key if the Black Stars are to succeed while the emergence of Norway-born goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey will further boost the strong defence line manned by captain John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah.
Striker Asamoah Gyan, who has scored most of the recent goals for the Black Stars, must be at his best if Ghana can win the title but the sticking point is the competent replacements for the Al Ain player as Prince Tagoe and Dominic Adiyiah have failed to live up to expectation.
If Ghana maintain their form in the qualifiers they will be a very tough side to beat in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
That was underlined in the qualifier as the Black Stars advanced to the tournament with a perfect record by scoring 13 goals and conceding only one - in their 3-1 win over Congo in Kumasi.
They won all their matches against group opponents Swaziland, Congo and the return against Sudan in Khartoum.
The only blip in their qualifiers was the home game against Sudan in October 2010 when they failed to score against the stubborn side as they were held to a goalless draw.
But they showed their temperament for big matches with the 2-0 win in Khartoum which sealed their automatic place from Group I.
|Ghana||0 - 2||Mali||11 Feb 12||Nuevo Estadio de Malabo|
|Zambia||1 - 0||Ghana||08 Feb 12||Estadio de Bata|
|Ghana||2 - 1||Tunisia||05 Feb 12||Stade de Franceville|
|Click here for Standings||Click here to see the full table|
|2012 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS TEAM RECORD|
|LAST 10 HOME:||8||5||2||1||12||5||7||4||1||14|
|LAST 10 AWAY:||2||1||1||0||5||1||0||0||0||4|