Preview: Ghana v Egypt

14 years ago

Ghana will be seeking a fifth African Nations Cup title when they play holders, Egypt in the final on Sunday.

Both sides will bring to an end the three-week continental showpiece in Angola which has defied all pre-tournament predictions.

The prospect of his history been made today is high on the agenda as both sides go for the title with Egypt in search of an unprecedented third successive title, and a record seventh overall, while Ghana are in the final for the first time in 18 years and looking to win a fifth title.

But for the entire football family, the inspirational story to have come out of the competition has to be the emergence of a youthful, hard working Ghana team and Milovan Rajevac.

For a team riddled by injury to key players in the run-up to the tournament and which includes 12 Nations Cup debutants with eight drafted in from the Under-20 side that won the World Cup last September, the Black Stars have rather lit the Angolan skies with a great work ethic to reach the final.

A stuttering start to the campaign opened the doors for criticisms after the Ivory Coast beat Ghana 3-1 in their opener.

The odds had always been stack against them but Ghana regained their confidence to win their next three matches by the score of 1-0 with wins over Burkina Faso in the group stage, hosts Angola in the quarter-finals and a semi-final triumph over Nigeria.

Four goals is all that Ghana have managed so far as they come up against an experienced Egypt team that has scored 14 goals in five games and who are on an African Nations Cup record run of 18 matches unbeaten.

But Rajevac, Ghana's coach is unperturbed as his young side comes against the experienced holders.

"People are saying we need to score at least two goals against Egypt to win, but I say we only need to score half a goal more than them to win the title," Rajevac said.

"Egypt are a very polished team. They have been playing together for a long time and their coach has also been there a long time.

"We played a friendly against them in Cairo last year and so we know them well, but we'll prepare our team to achieve a result."

The Ghana coach added: "In the quarter-finals Angola, playing at home and with all their experience, were favourites. Nigeria were favourites, now Egypt are favourites.

"They've won the last two titles, but we're not thinking about that.

"What's more important, playing beautiful football or the result?"

Though Ghana's side have exceeded expectations, success over Egypt will be an added bonus for a team that will be playing at the next World Cup finals in South Africa starting in June.