AFCON: Ghana vs Cape Verde preview

Picture 5Africa Cup of Nations

  • Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Date: Saturday 2 February
  • Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Ghana go into their quarter-final tie as firm favourites, but are wary of a Cape Verde side who have upset the odds at their debut tournament.

Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah has a full-strength squad to choose from, with midfielder Wakaso Mubarek available after serving a suspension.

Cape Verde also have no injuries ahead of the biggest game in their history.

Whether coach Lucio Antunes changes his line-up from the team that started against Angola remains to be seen.

Substitute striker Heldon scored the sensational last-minute winner that booked the Blue Sharks’ place in the last eight, after coming on for regular starter Platini.

The tie marks Ghana’s fourth consecutive Nations Cup quarter-final appearance, after they comfortably topped Group B with two wins and a draw.

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah:

“I would have been more comfortable facing the Ivory Coast to be honest.

“When you are playing a team with nothing to lose, then it is difficult because there is no pressure on them. That is the fear in me.

“Cape Verde are a side similar to Mali, which was our toughest group game. They are disciplined and good defensively.”

Cape Verde captain Nando:

“There will not be pressure on my team. Why would there be?

“People don’t tell us we have to win the cup. Nobody expects anything from us. If we beat Ghana, we would be 50% of the way to winning this competition.

“Ghana have to win this match. All the pressure is on [them].

“My players can just enjoy being on the pitch one more time, to prove that Cape Verde has good players.

“I really believe that we could beat Ghana. They are a very, very strong team, but when the referee blows his whistle to start the match, we have a chance.”

BBC

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