African Nations Cup Semi-Final Preview: Zambia vs Ghana
Africa Cup of Nations 2012
- Venue: Estadio de Bata
- Stage: Semi-final
- Date: Wednesday, 08 February
- Kick-off: 1600 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on Eurosport; live text commentary and full report plus reaction on the BBC Sport website and mobiles
Zambia coach Herve Renard has a full squad to choose from, even if it is from only 22 players after Clifford Mulenga was sent home for indiscipline.
The Frenchman has fielded an unchanged line-up in his last two games, and used 10 of the same players in every match.
Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic may once again be without captain John Mensah.
The defender was forced off in Sunday’s win over Tunisia with injury and is a doubt alongside Emmanuel-Agyemang Badu, who missed training on Tuesday.
Zambia enter this showdown in the Equatoguinean city Bata trying to reach their first Africa Cup of Nations final since 1994 – and only the third in their history.
The Chipolopolo, who have never won the competition after also finishing runners-up in 1974, take on a Ghana side bidding to reach a record ninth final, and second in succession.
The winner of Wednesday’s first semi-final will meet favourites Ivory Coast or Mali in Sunday’s final in the Gabonese capital Libreville.
“Everybody expects an Ivory Coast-Ghana final and everybody thinks it will be a surprise if we get through – everybody except us,” says Zambia coach Herve Renard, who wears a ‘lucky white shirt’ during matches.
Bidding to become the first southern African side into a Nations Cup final since 1998, Zambia have special reason to make the final in Gabon, off whose coast 18 Chipolopolo players died in a 1993 plane crash.
Zambia, whose side boasts just one player in top-flight European football (Switzerland-based Emmanuel Mayuka), have met Ghana three times at the Nations Cup, with the Black Stars winning twice and losing once.
Boasting a generation of players who came closer than any African team to reaching a World Cup semi-final two years ago, Goran Stevanovic has constantly spoken of his aim to win Ghana’s first Nations Cup since 1982.
“We relish being among the favourites and there is additional pressure on the team because I have told them many times that Ghana must win the Cup of Nations for the first time in 30 years,” says the Serbian coach.
- Ghana to face Zambia in Semi-Final – Video (indepthafrica.com)
- Zambia down 10-man Sudan 3- 0 (Video) (indepthafrica.com)
- Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea seek another Nations Cup upset (indepthafrica.com)
- Ghana wait on Gyan fitness before naming Nations squad (indepthafrica.com)