Soccer News of Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Ex-Ghana star Nii Odartey Lamptey expects a tough tie between Nigeria and the Black Stars of Ghana in their semi-final clash in the African Nations Championship on Wednesday, saying it will be the ‘final before the final'.
Both teams were among the favourites to win the competition at the start but the semi-final paring has upset bookmakers’ predictions.
“It’s going to be 50-50 for both sides. I consider myself to be a Nigerian and a Ghanaian so my love is for the both of them,” the former PSV midfielder told Brila FM on Tuesday.
Lamptey, who is known to be a supporter of coach Stephen Keshi since after the Nigerian assisted him as an up-and-coming player in the Belgian league, said the Black Stars had attracted as much criticism as the Super Eagles in the competition.
He said, “Keshi is like a father to me; he was the one there for me when I lost both parents as a 14-year-old. But football is funny, no matter how brotherly or friendly you are, when you get to the pitch everybody wants to win. As a Ghanaian, I believe the Black Stars have a 50 per cent chance of beating the Super Eagles, but it’s not going to be easy.
“Everybody is excited in Accra about the match, but some are complaining that Ghana are not presenting the best players at the tournament. It is when the game is over that we’ll know which team is better.
“I think both sides should have met in the final, not before. It’s going to be a final before the final. Any team that wins on Wednesday will win the competition.”
Lamptey also tips both sides to shine at the World Cup in Brazil, going by their current form and their performance at the last edition in South Africa.
“Both Ghana and Nigeria are having good preparations for the World Cup and I believe they will shine in Brazil. Ghana are in a tough group but I see them qualifying for the knock-out stage, the same thing with Nigeria; the Super Eagle should be able to qualify from the group also,” he said.