Sports News of Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Source: Nana Frimpong @GOAL.com
Ghana come up against west African opposition on a fourth consecutive occasion at the 2013 Afcon, knowing very well that a date in the final - inevitably against another of their regional neighbours - will be guaranteed if they can successfully negotiate victory over Burkina Faso, a nation with whom they share a border to the north.
This will be a fourth successive semi-final appearance for the Ghanaians, while their opponents, the Burkinabe, have come this far only once prior, when they hosted the competition 15 years ago.
On paper, Ghana appear the stronger side, having strung together three wins from four games played thus far and registering a handsome eight goals in the process.
In contrast, the Stallions have only managed two victories (and two draws), with only one result - the 4-0 drubbing of unfancied Ethiopia in the second group game - truly standing out.
That notwithstanding, both sides have displayed an equal propensity for fine attacking football, although each has shown itself deficient at times when the cutting edge has been required.
Defensively, the two teams have been fairly stable, having marshalled rearguards that have shipped in one (Burkina Faso) and two (Ghana) goals respectively, the least goals conceded at this stage of the competition, implying that the potency of either side in the final third could make all the difference.
Neither team will be lacking in inspiration, however, with figures like Asamoah Gyan and Mumuni Dagano capable of propelling their respective outfits to the final, and those two will be looking to put their goal scoring prowess to good use, having underperformed thus far at the tournament.
History beckons for Burkina Faso, as does glory for the Black Stars, and things could not be more perilously balanced on a knife-edge. Hopefully, the poor nature of the Mbombela Stadium pitch - which has marred a few games already - will do little to ruin the tantalising spectacle that the Ghana-Burkina Faso clash promises.