GHANA Vs DR CONGO – 6.00pm
There will be fireworks when four-time champions Ghana meet ex-winners DR Congo in Group B of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
The clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is seen as one of the most-anticipated matches of the tournament because the pedigree of the two sides in African football.
But the discussion ahead of the game has been dominated by the turmoil in the Leopards camp after trainer Claude Leroy threatened to resign just two days before the match in Port Elizabeth.
The Frenchman, who will be making his seventh appearance in Africa’s biggest football event, was convinced to return to the squad after a row with the federation over bonuses.
Leroy returns to the side confident that he can lead the Leopards to victory over the side he coached at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
DRC will have their hopes in Anderlecht’s prolific striker Dieumerci Mbokani, West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu and TP Mazembe midfielder Tressor Mputu to lift them over the Black Stars.
On the other hand, The Black Stars have been depleted by injuries and loss of form, leading to the exclusion of top players like Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, John Mensah and Andre Ayew.
In their absence talented youngsters Mubarak Wakaso, Albert Adomah and Christian Atsu are expected to step up to the plate and make a big impact on one of the biggest stages in world football.
The experience of the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Derek Boateng and John Paintsil will be vital for the Ghanaians who have been tipped to top the group.
MALI VS NIGER – 8.00pm
In the second game of group B, Mali takes minnows Niger on Sunday evening at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Mali will be hoping to go one step further this year after finishing third at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
They have been robbed by the loss of inspirational midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, who has been excluded due to an injury but will rely on the experience of former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita.
Although one of the weaker sides in the strong West Africa region, Niger has produced a couple of noteworthy runs in qualifying when they upstaged Guinea in a final qualifying round to make it to their second successive Africa Cup of Nations after making their debut at the last.
The Menas are yet to win a match at the Africa Cup of Nations after losing all three group matches in 2012.
Ranked third in Africa, Mali are expected to be too strong for Niger with many people putting the Eagles as dark horses to upstage the more fancied sides and claim the trophy.