The last four are settled, with Ghana and Nigeria short odds to reach the decider. But the tournament has not been short of upsets, with Mali and Burkina Faso tricky prospects
|By PAUL GOUGH
Ghana are the new favourites to win the 2013 African Cup of Nations following the shock elimination of Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals by Nigeria.
The semi-finals of Africa's showpiece tournament are on Wednesday in South Africa, with Ghana expected to get past surprise packets Burkino Faso.
However Nigeria, despite their magnificent win over Ivory Coast, could well have their hands full against underrated Mali in the other semi-final.
Ivory Coast had been little better than the even-money favourites to win the tournament at $2.18 at Betfair before to their shock 2-1 loss to Nigeria, with that result seeing Ghana immediately firm from $5.10 second favourites to become the top picks at $2.72.
And the Black Stars should have little trouble winning their semi-final against Burkino Faso, who are ranked a distant 92nd in the world by Fifa and 23rd amongst the African nations, but have performed superbly to reach the semi-finals.
|Ghana to win v Burkina Faso at $2.04 at Betfair
||Mali to win v Nigeria at $4.30 at Betfair|
Led by their brilliant captain Asamoah Gyan, Ghana also have the equal-leading scorer at the tournament so far in 22-year-old Wakaso Mubarak, who plays his club football with Espanyol in La Liga and has scored three goals so far in the competition.
However, Burkino Faso have their own danger man in striker Alain Traore, who has also scored three goals for the tournament and plays his club football with Ligue 1 club Lorient.
The other semi-final is much tougher to predict, with Nigeria favourites at $2.20 at Betfair - following that great win over Ivory Coast - and Mali priced at $4.30, with the draw at 90 minutes at $3.15.
However, we have been on Mali here since the tournament began when they were quoted at a massive $16.50 to lift the trophy.
Their squad is full of French-based stars and they are the highest-ranked team left in the tournament at No.25 in Fifa's official rankings, one place ahead of Ghana, which also means they are the third-ranked team in Africa behind Ivory Coast and Algeria.
And they did finish third in last year's tournament, when they only went down 1-0 to Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.
Mali showed their mettle by surviving a tense penalty shoot-out to knock out host nation South Africa in the quarter-finals and, provided they can stop Nigeria's leading scorer in Spartak Moscow striker Emmanuel Emenike, look great value to progress to the final.
* Note prices subject to change