2012 Africa Cup of Nations Preview: Zambia - Ghana
The Blacks Stars’ dream of annexing their fifth continental trophy depends largely on Wednesday’s match against a piercing Copper Bullets side
By Kent Mensah
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.
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Top 3 Predictions
Zambia 0-2 Ghana
- 21.41 %
Zambia 2-1 Ghana
- 16.27 %
Zambia 1-2 Ghana
- 14.56 %
|World Cup Qualifying - Africa (WCQ)||Sep 6, 2013||Ghana 2 - Zambia 1|
|World Cup Qualifying - Africa (WCQ)||Jun 9, 2012||Zambia 1 - Ghana 0|
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||Feb 8, 2012||Zambia 1 - Ghana 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 12, 2009||Ghana 4 - Zambia 1|
|Dec 4, 2013||Somalia 0 - Zambia 4||CSCC|
|Dec 1, 2013||Zambia 1 - Burundi 0||CSCC|
|Nov 28, 2013||Tanzania 1 - Zambia 1||CSCC|
|Nov 14, 2013||Egypt 2 - Zambia 0||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Brazil 2 - Zambia 0||FR|
|14||Noah Sikombe Chivuta||Midfielder|
The China-based player has been immensed and deserves a lot of credit for taking Zambia this far. He will need to rise up again to the challenge as the trophy is just a game away.
Touted as the team's future captain, the Olympique Marseille winger has been an inspiration to the Black Stars young though he is. He is in line to cause an upset on Wednesday.
It is going to be a battle full of fireworks, but at the end of the day a winner will emerge. The Ghanaians look good to carry the day and are by far the safest bet one could risk.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed