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.
to see who they will be battling to win Africa’s premier competition.
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
“El Hadary’s experience”
title , he’s experience proved vital as he then saved Bertrand Traore’s effort to send
Burkina Faso home.
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”
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.
Ayew’s good luck ritual, which has been labelled as juju!