Ghana at 2013 AFCON: Ghana begins quest for fifth title – When two former champions meet, it is bound to be a confrontation of titanic proportions. That is exactly the situation as four-time champions, Ghana and two-time champions DR Congo meet on Sunday at Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. It is predicted that there will be fireworks and entertaining football from two countries whose players are known for sublime skills.
Moreover, Ghana will be up facing their former coach, the travelling Frenchman, Claude Le Roy who has traversed the continent from Cameroon to Senegal, DR Congo and Ghana and now back to DR Congo.
Le Roy left Ghana after the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations after leading the country to its best FIFA ranking of 14th position. The Frenchman is making his seventh appearance at the tournament, making him, perhaps the most ‘tournament-experienced’ manager at South Africa 2013.
Just three days ago, he was threatening to quit his duty post as DR Congo’s manager, an indication of possible turmoil in the Congolese camp.
But there has been relative peace in the Black Stars camp as the team prepares for its possible fifth title.
But it may not be that easy as they face one of the toughest teams in Africa. At Club level, the recent exploits of DR Congo club TP Mazembe come to light. The club surprised all by reaching the final of the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup.
Five members of TP Mazembe are in the current DR Congo side. The side is further boosted by the presence of Anderlecht’s prolific striker, Dieumerci Mbokani and West Brom midfielder, Yossouf Mulumbu.
But Ghana, apart from easily picking qualifying tickets in most competitions since that of World Cup 2010 where they were Africa’s best, have had impressive build-up to the 2013 African Nations Cup.
In the days leading to South Africa 2013, the Black Stars beat Egypt 3-0 and Tunisia 4-2. Also, while the Super Eagles laboured to a goalless draw with Cape Verde, Ghana defeated the cup debutants.
Ghana whose football profile has been on the rise lately, is presenting a team dominated by young players.
Even though injuries have led to the exclusion of some well known star players like Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah, the 10 debutants in the squad are expected to make a great impact as Ghana is known for its star glut.
Such new stars include Christian Atsu, Mubarak Wakaso and Albert Adomah whose efforts will be complemented by those of the experienced ones like Asamoah Gyan, Derek Boateng and John Painstil.