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  • Egypt through to the AFCON Final

    Egypt through to the AFCON Final

    AFCON 2017 Update
    By Tatnda Ziyambii

    The Africa Cup of Nations has reached its climax and last night in the first
    semi-final between Burkina Faso and Egypt, the Pharaohs
    came out on top after a tense penalty shoot-out.

    Now they await results for tonight’s second semi-final between Cameroon and Ghana
    to see who they will be battling to win Africa’s premier competition.

    “Déjà vu”

    Egypt had been conspicuous absentees in the last three editions at
    AFCON. This was mainly due to the unfortunate events that occurred in
    the wake of the Arab Spring. Politics aside, the record holders are
    back in a familiar position following a six year absence.

    “Too close to call”

    The Pharaohs reached a record-equaling ninth Africa Cup of Nations
    final after they beat Burkina Faso 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1
    draw in extra time.

    In normal time Mohamed Salah opened the scoring early in the second
    half for Egypt, when he curled a superb shot into the top left corner.
    The Burkina-be’s, who were the more adventurous and ambitious side
    throughout normal play, then leveled the game when talisman Aristide
    Bance chested down Charles Kabore’s cross and scored late in the
    second half. That was how the match ended as a penalty shootout.

    “Experience saves the day”

    20 year old Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi magnificently pushed
    Abdallah El Said’s spot-kick on to the post to hand his side the
    imitative. But he soon experienced the other side of shootouts when he
    stepped up to take his side’s fourth penalty and was unable to beat El
    Hadary – the 44 year old Egyptian gakeep who happens to be the oldest African Nations Cup player
    in history.

    “El Hadary’s experience”

    El Hardy  now has a chance to win his fifth African
    title , he’s experience proved vital as he then saved Bertrand Traore’s effort to send
    Burkina Faso home.

    “Familiar foes”

    Cameroon and Ghana have played each other three times before in the
    African Cup of Nations, and Ghana has failed to win any of those
    matches drawing 2 and losing the other.

    “Black Stars rising”

    However, if form is any guide at the moments, Ghana should have the
    upper hand since Cameroon come into this game without a goal in their
    last two AFCON matches; failing to score with any of their last 23
    shots in the tournament.

    Cameroons lack of goals and over reliance on their defence could come
    to haunt them if they concede and early goal. Their goal shy form is
    particularly surprising, given how their star forward Benjamin
    Moukandjo has created 15 chances in the 2017 African Cup of Nations;
    four more than any other player.

    Additionally if they are to progress to the final, they will need to
    stop the Ayew brothers. At least one of the Ayew brothers has been
    directly involved in 10 of Ghana’s last 14 goals at the AFCON (five
    goals & two assists for André, two goals & an assist for Jordan).

    “Indomitable Lions chasing history”

    If anything, the one thing that Cameroon has going is history.
    The last three times Cameroon reached the semi-finals of the African
    Cup of Nations, they have progressed to the final. On the flip side,
    Ghana is the only team to have reached the semi-finals in each of the
    last six AFCON tournaments; conceding only three times in their
    previous five semi-finals.

    “Cameroon will also be looking to try”

    “Final Verdict”

    Ghana will enter this match with the favorites label attached to
    them, and rightfully so. The Black Stars have everything going on for
    them at the moment, and will head into the tie knowing that man for
    man, they are a better side than Cameroon. Cameroon will likely have
    to be patient and take their chances when they fall, as Ghana
    will likely monopolize possession.

    Given Cameroons approach to their game at AFCON so far, this will be a close
    hard fought affair, with Ghana narrowly edging their fellow north
    African rivals with their superior firepower.

    Cameroon continue to be a stubborn opponent, Ghana might rely on Andre
    Ayew’s good luck ritual, which has been labelled as juju!

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