Having eased off to a place in the quarter-finals, Ghana go into this match full of confidence, hoping this would be just another obstacle on their road to the title. Cape Verde did brilliantly to reach the quarter-finals on their first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, but can they continue their impressive campaign by beating the Black Stars?
Ghana on fire
Considering they largely struggled to prove their worth at the previous editions of the tournament finals, a lot of pundits were skeptical about Ghana’s chances at the 2013 AFCON, especially seeing that Kevin-Prince Boateng, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew and few other senior players were not in the squad. Nevertheless, talented coach Kwesi Appiah managed to create a very homogenous unit from the players at his disposal, while the quality of players like Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, John Boye and Wakaso Mubarak was never in question. As a result, Ghana picked up seven points from three group games to ensure their place in the last 8, showing a lot of character to recover from the opening draw against Congo DR that had seen them squander a two-goal advantage. As it is now evident that the team are playing with a lot of confidence, I am pretty sure they can continue the rich vein of form against talented, but inexperienced Cape Verde.
Winger Wakaso Mubarak returns from suspension, while Anthony Annan and Richmond Boakye have resumed full training.
Historic success for Cape Verde
Cape Verde produced a major coup by qualifying for their first Africa Cup of Nations, with the small island country defying the odds to eliminate might Cameroon in the play-offs. However, rather than arriving to South Africa to make up numbers, the Blue Sharks were determined to make the most of their maiden AFCON appearance, and they did an outstanding job by qualifying for the quarter-finals. Cape Verde rode their luck in some of the fixtures, but also showed a lot of promise going forward, so they will certainly give their best to create another surprise and make it to the semi-finals. However, I seriously doubt they will be able to match in-form Ghana in Port Elizabeth, and I believe this will be the end of a very successful journey for Lucio Antunes’ side. Having said that, I don’t think Cape Verde would be where they are at the moment had they been placed in some other group.
Lucio Antunes may not have injury worries at the moment, but he, nonetheless, faces several selection dilemmas.
While Cape Verde certainly deserve to be in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals, I just don’t see them matching arguably the best side at the tournament finals. Ghana appear to be on top of their game at the moment and I am positive they will make it to the semi-finals.
Top pick: Home win 1.73 (8/11) @ BetFred
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.50 (3/2) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Ghana to score two or more goals 1.73 (8/11) @ Coral