Sports News of Sunday, 1 February 2015
There is no love lost between Ghana and Guinea. As the two line up tomorrow in what will be an electric quarter final AFCON 2015 duel, each of the two sides has just a little more to play for than just a win.
The Sylli Nationale are playing for their citizens back home struck and some killed by the deadly Ebola virus. They need something, an AFCON trophy to lift the psyche of the nation back up.
The Black Stars, on the other hand, have no Ebola worries, thankfully for now but have cobwebs still remaining from the stinker in Brazil they have to do away with.
Only a trophy would appease the Ghana fans some of whom have turned against the Black Stars.
And while both sides have a cause to fight tomorrow, it remains to be seen which of the two teams is hungrier.
En route to Morocco or rather Equatorial Guinea 2015, Ghana picked four points from the maximum six against Guinea but all that means very little now.
The Sylli Nationale have played some of the most delectable games in the ongoing AFCON and to emerge out of a group that has Cameroon, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, even if they came out on power of a lottery, is a testament of a side not lacking in skill, finesse and charisma.
Ghana, on the other hand, have served a cup full of surprises. They are not playing particularly well in the tournament but when push come to shove, they sniff the result out in thoroughly dramatic fashion.
Gyan did against Algeria and so did Dede against South Africa. And for a nations cup that is not lacking in drama, the Ghana, Guinea game could make for a Hollywood encounter.
Men to watch
Ibrahima Traore, the Borussia Mochenglachbach man, has been in superb form in Equatorial Guinea. He has been the thorn in the flesh of many opposing defence in the tournament and sure looks set to be one in Ghana’s.
He scored the crucial equaliser against Cameroon in the opening Group D encounter and has carried the team on his tiny shoulders for most part.
A Guinea place in the semi-final depends largely on his output on Sunday.
Wakaso Mubarak appears to be gaining a reputation for being an AFCON player- do well in an AFCON tournament for Ghana and go on a long holiday after it only to return with another fine performance in another AFCON tournament.
In his Nations Cup debut, Mubarak churned out a fine performance and was one of the top scorers in the 2013 edition with three goals but suffered a dip in form after it.
Since his introduction in the second half against Algeria, Mubarak has been a lynchpin in Ghana’s midfield, connecting defence to the attack.
He plays with skill, passion and sometimes rage, but his vision for long accurate passes is phenomenal. If Gyan and Dede will pull their magic once again, much will depend on Wakaso.