Clash of the titans as Ghana, Ivory Coast lock horns in epic final

Clash of the titans as Ghana, Ivory Coast lock horns in epic final

Clash of the titans as Ghana, Ivory Coast lock horns in epic final

After three weeks on intriguing football, the African Cup of Nations climaxes  on Sunday at 9pm (local time)at the Estadio de Bata where African giants Ivory Coasty and Ghana  will clash in the most spectacular of fashions in the tiny central African nation Equatorial Guinea.

Ghana’s Black Stars under Israeli  and former Chelsea  manger Avram  Grant will be aiming at bagging a fifth African crown at the  expense of a fluid and experienced Ivory Coast skippered by Manchester City star midfielder Yaya Toure.

The  big City  box- to- box midfielder  has been far from his imperious form in EPL in this tournament, but scored a contender goal of the tournament on Wednesday–his first since the competition begun– in the 3-1 demolition of DR Congo  to storm to the finals.

On Sunday, he will should the hopes of an expectant nation that has twice come close to being crowned Africa’s best – in 2006 and 2012– but lost cruelly in both occasions in penalty lotteries to Egypt and Zambia respectively.

This time however, they would want to condemn that past heart ache into history books when they tackle Ghana even without the input of the great Didier Drogba–the country’s all-time leading scorer with 65 goals who hanged his international boots after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

In head coach Herve Renard, a French man, who won the crown with Zambia’s Copper Bullets in 2012, they have a charismatic figure head and experienced man who knows what it takes to lift the gong and as such a cracking contest is expected to play out.

Ghana have been four time winners (1963, 65, 78, 1982) but have undergrown a continental trophy drought spanning 33 years and after a slow start to the competition, where they lost 1-2 to Senegal, in their opening group match, have been gathering steam .They are expected to stick to their attacking flair when they confront the Elephants– majority who are tall and stockily built.

On paper, there is very little that separates the two sides with each team boasting of big names in their ranks and the slight mistakes or lack of it will determine who emerges the winner.

Giving his perspective on the two, former Kenya national football team head coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno and current Sony Sugar coach tipped Ghana to prevail at the expense of the Ivorians.

“They (Ghana) have very speedy forwards and I believe they will be able to get the most out of an aging Ivorian defense,” the former Kenyan full back said.

Kwesi Appiah, the 24 year old Crystal Place on-loan forward at Cambridge United and Jonathon Atsu have impressed for the Black Stars and will pose the greatest danger to the Elephants.

Serge Aurier has on the other hand been the stand out performer with consistent performances for the Ivory Coast and alongside, Yaya, Wilfried Bony and Gervinho will be greatly relied upon to do the damage to the opposition.

 

Read more on : Tournaments


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