The Blacks Stars’ dream of annexing their fifth continental trophy depends largely on Wednesday’s match against a piercing Copper Bullets side
N Mulenga, Himonde, Kasonde, Musonda
Sinkala, F Katongo
C Katongo, Mbesuma, Chansa
Inkoom, Mensah, Vorsah, Boye
Asamoah, Badu, Annan, Ayew
It has been a long and arduous battle for both countries to come this far in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which has been rocked by a number of upsets.
Ghana have by far lived up to their pre-tournament favourites tag despite a few lapses in some of their games. The Black Stars outpaced the Zebras of Botswana in a 1-0 opening group game followed by the Eagles of Mali in a 2-0 fixture before drawing 1-1 against the Syli Natonale of Guinea to top Group D.
The four-time African champions’ quarter-final duel with the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia was a breathtaking one. It was a nervy 120-minute game that ended 2-1 in favour of an extremely exhausted Ghana side. The Ghanaians are within range to annex the trophy for a fifth time.
However, a very disciplined Zambia side led by a determined military officer, Christopher Katongo, stand in the way of the Black Stars clinching the ultimate prize. The Chipolopolo are at a stage that few would have tipped them to reach prior to the 28th edition of the continental showpiece. They have fought in every game as if it were a final and beating co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and pre-tournaments favourites Senegal in the group stage reveals a great deal about coach Herve Renard’s side.
There are no injury or suspension concerns on both fronts and each team is expected to field their best 11 in a battle that will take a brave man to predict.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Zambia coach Herve Renard was an assistant coach of Ghana during the 2008 Nations Cup when the Black Stars finished third.
- The captain of the Chipolopolo Christopher Katongo is a military officer and has had his rank elevated following his sterling performance in the competition.
- The moniker of the southern Africans, the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), was arrived at because the country is endowed in rich copper.
- Ghana have only conceded two goals in the tournament out of four games so far.
- Ghana will be playing their third successive semi-final in a row over the last three tournaments since 2008.
- Coach Goran Stevanovic becomes the second Serbian coach in a row to have taken the west Africans to this stage of the tournament after Milovan Rajevac’s feat in 2010.