Soccer News of Friday, 31 January 2014
Ghana seek their maiden African Nations Championship crown on February 1 against Libya, the only opponent at the tournament the west Africans failed to beat in the competition's earlier rounds.
Saturday's game, to be played in Cape Town, would be the third between Ghana and Libya at CHAN level, with their initial meeting at the 2009 tournament having failed to produce a winner.
An identical outcome resulted when the sides faced each other during the group stages of this year's competition, and Libya eventually finished as runner-up to the Black Stars in Group C.
The pair then scraped through the knock-out rounds, with Libya having to rely on successive shootout victories against Gabon and Zimbabwe to earn their ticket for the final, while Ghana also emerged unscathed from a similar scenario in Wednesday night's semi-final against rivals Nigeria. The preceding round had seen Maxwell Konadu's charges top DR Congo by a lone Kwabena Adusei strike.
Ghana, now finalists in two of the three CHAN editions organised, would have to do without the resilient Adusei, however, after the defender picked a suspension halfway in the encounter with Nigeria. Libya, known rather flamboyantly as the Mediterranean Knights and presently coached by Spanish journeyman Javier Clemente, would be eager to beat a country against whom it last appeared in the finale of a major international competition, namely, the 1982 Nations Cup.
Interestingly, that game ended in a shootout win for the Ghanaians, after the sides had played out a stalemate in the group rounds of that tournament, as they already have at the ongoing CHAN. Quite incidentally, Ghana themselves have not won a title at competitive senior level since.
Put all those ingredients together and it is easy to see why tomorrow's final - sizzling hot as it is anticipated to prove – is not a game to miss.