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Ghana – Burkina Faso Preview: African Cup of Nations Group B

January 18, 2010

Essien and Painstil Celebrate goal

Stars looking for victory tomorrow (Image Source)

The Black Stars of Ghana have a huge responsibility of ensuring that they qualify for the quarterfinals of the ongoing African Cup Nations tomorrow when the lock horns with the Stallions of Burkina Faso at the Cidadela stadium.

How they stand
The only other team in the group B, Ivory Coast (Togo pulled out of the competition), have qualified as group leaders after picking up 4 points in two games.Burkina Faso have a point and Ghana trail the pack with no point.

The mathematics for this group is rather simple. The Stars can settle for nothing less than a win if they hope to progress to the next stage. A draw would hand Burkina Faso the qualifying ticket.

Match Preview
Ghana began their title hopes on a poor note losing heavily to a more experienced Ivory Coast side. The Stars are missing a lot of first team players, who were ruled out of the competition due to injuries. Captain Stephen Appiah, deputy John Mensah, defender John Panstil and midfielder Laryea Kingston could not make the squad to Angola. Anthony Annan was unavailable for the first game and Chelsea midfielder Micheal Essien could only play the last 45 minutes.

I’m expecting Milovan Rajevac to shake up the squad we saw against the Elephants in the first match. The bad new is that Micheal Essien picked up a fresh injury in the knee during training on Sunday and would not be available for the game.The news of Anthony Annan’s return from injury however is a huge boost for the team. Asamoah Gyan who scored Ghana’s only goal in the last match can pair up with Amoah up front. A good day for the highly rated Kwadwo Asamoah may spell danger for the Stallions as the midfielder is complete and can shoot from anywhere. Richard Kinson would’ve to sharper than he was in the last outing and Milo can use the pace of Dramani and the effienciency of Hans Adu Sarpei.

Morale is high in the Burkina camp after their telling performance against the Elephants. They have a full compliment of their squad unlike the injury plagued counterparts. The Stallions have a rock solid defense and goalkeeper Daouda Diakite can be a safe pair of hands all evening.

Burkina Faso are likely to play striker Moumouni Dagano on top of their attack. The Qatar-based striker was their top marksman in the qualifiers and is yet to score in the competition. The danger man for the Stallions is Jonathan Pitroipa who plays for Hamburg in Germany. The winger is strong and skillful and Burkina Faso are likely to build their attack through him.

I’m expecting a close game between the two but I’m tempted to believe that Stars have the quality to edge out the Stallions in narrow win on the day.

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