A West African derby between Ghana, four times champions in the competition who have looked like the best team in the tournament from the get go, facing Burkina Faso, looking to reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in history.
Burkina Faso are probably the surprising side of the tournament, with less star or European quality than the other three teams. They’ve made the semifinal of the tournament only once, in 1998, when they hosted the competition for the only time, finishing in fourth place.
They finished first in the group that included Nigeria and Zambia, winning their only match with an impressive display against Ethiopia, grabbing a 4-0 victory with two goals from the undisputed star of the team, Alain Traoré from Lorient, scoring three goals in the competition so far. In the quarterfinals, they needed and extra time goal from Jonathan Pitroipa (Rennes) to beat Togo and qualify to the semifinal.
Despite playing attacking football or at least inentindg to under Paul Put, the Stallions will be huge underdogs against the Black Stars of Ghana, one of Africa’s most prominent sides in recent years, making the final in 2010 and the last four semifinals, not to mention beating Burkina Faso in 12 of their last 17 matches.
Ghana have scored more goals than anyone in the tournament and are the only side with three wins so far, beating Mali and Niger after opening the tournament with a draw against Congo. Wakaso Mubarak, the team’s top scorer in the tournament with three goals, scored twice, including one penalty, as Ghana struggled to find a way through the Cape Verde defense in the quarterfinal. Still, with Mubarak, Kwadwo Asamoah, Gyan and Albert Adomah of Bristol City leading their attack, their big favorites to score at least one against Burkina Faso.
Prediction – Hard to see past Ghana in this one. They seem to have the best blend of talent, attacking football combined with tactical discipline in the tournament and especially going into this match. Burkina Faso might be able to drag this one out a bit, but there should be only one outcome, as Asamoah Gyan leads his team into the final.