Ghana and Guinea were in supreme form over the weekend at the 2012 African Cup of Nations as they enjoyed victories in Franceville ahead of Wednesday’s final group clash at the Stade de Franceville.
Leading on six points and three points clear ahead of Guinea in Group D counts almost for nothing with Caf’s announcement on Sunday of the qualification mode from the group stages.
According to Caf's regulations, Article 72, in the event where two or more teams are tied on points after the conclusion of the group matches, the ranking of the teams shall be established according to the greater number of points obtained in the matches between the teams in question; the best goal difference in the matches between the teams; greater number of goals scored in the group matches between the teams concerned; goal difference in all group matches; greatest number of goals scored in all the group matches; fair play points system taking into account the number of yellow and red cards and drawing of lots by CAF Organising Committee.
Quite a tall list to determine who qualifies from Ghana’s group with Guinea and Mali both in contention as Botswana’s debut crashes in the first round.
The Black Stars’ opponents raked in six goals and conceded one against Botswana while Ghana bounced from a slow first half performance to beat Mali 2-0 with goals from Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew.
However, ahead of the decisive final day meeting, Ghana’s quality and history in African Cup of Nations competitions is serving as a reminder of the responsibilities for the present Black Stars squad.
Assistant Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah says Ghana, though wary of the threat the opposition can pose are unfazed by the high scoring result that Guinea secured to enter the record books.
“The next game, playing against Guinea is very, very important for us. Fortunately we had some tapes on them before the tournament. And after our game with Botswana [last Tuesday], we stayed over to also look at them,” Appiah said after Ghana beat Mali.
“We would be assessing all this tapes by tomorrow (Monday) before our game with them on Wednesday. We would treat it us we did with our two games."
The responsibility of ensuring qualification is the only thing on the minds of the Ghana players. And Appiah adds that: “I believe we have got quality players and really don’t care who we meet. We would go all out to play and get a win over Guinea and whichever team comes second, we would be prepared to play them.”
Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer, after reviving Guinea’s tournament hopes with the 6-1 thrashing of Botswana, is setting his sights on beating Ghana. A game he describes like a ‘final’.
“We had to impose our way of playing and the mission was done,” Dussuyer said. “Against Ghana it will be like a final.”