Will Ghana beat Burkina Faso to reach Afcon finals?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Two West African nations will face each other in tonight’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match to be played at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit.

The semi-final match will kick off at 6:30pm.

Burkina Faso are hoping that the sand-covered pitch might give them an edge over the Ghanaians, who have played all their group stage and quarter-final matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Stallions have played four of their matches of the tournament on the sandy and bumpy pitch; however, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah feels his players will cope with the pitch.

There have been complaints about the poor state of the pitch at the Mbombela Stadium. The problem arose after sand was laid down as a measure to counter the heavy rains that hit the area before the tournament.

“It would have been best if we could have had just a training session [there], but it’s not possible. We need to take our minds off the pitch situation and focus on how to achieve the task ahead of us.

“The pitch issue is something that all the players are aware of but they’ve put it behind them. They will try to do their best no matter how the pitch is,” said Appiah, according to the Ghana Football Association.

Ghana has the upper hand over Burkina Faso at the Afcon match, having won all three encounters between the two West African nations.

In 1978, the Stallions lost 3-0 while in 2002, the Black Stars won 2-1 and most recently, they triumphed 1-0 in 2010. All the matches were in the group stages of the tournament.    

Two more West African national teams, Nigeria and Mali, will battle it out to reach the finals in another semi-final match to be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium at 5pm.

Mali caused an upset when they eliminated hosts Bafana Bafana 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out of the hard fought quarter-final match last Saturday, while Nigeria beat tournaments favourites Ivory Coast to reach the semi-finals. - SAnews.gov.za

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