Ghana will seek to register a quadruple over Burkina Faso when both meet at the semifinal stage of the Africa Cup of Nations billed for the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Wednesday.
The Stars have won all three previous meetings against the Burkinabes who are entering a last four appearance for the first time since 1998 when they hosted the tournament and both lock horns at the Mbombela pitch that has come under several criticisms for its quality for a place in the grand finale.
While the Black Stars were semifinalists at the last competition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea where they lost to eventual winners, Zambia, the Burkinabe’s exited at the first round, making their run thus far in the South Africa competition a fine one.
Both countries topped their respective groups and went ahead to book a place in the last four, and the Mbombela battle which will be involving a Ghana side that has scored the most goals in the tournament against an opposition that has conceded the least is expected to be testy by any measure.
Without that, both teams have the capability to attack in equal measure. Despite Burkina Faso depleted in quality without injured Alain Traore; Jonathan Pitriopa who’s last minute header separated them from Togo at the knockout stage has acted enough threated to any team.
While Burkina Faso has picked only a ball from their net in four games, Ghana has conceded twice, making the difference marginal enough to anticipate a grueling meeting fit for a last four pairing.
The Stallions until Traore’s injury had had been reliant on the creative player to bang in the goals. But in his absence, Pitriopa has proved a worthy partnership with Moumouni Dagano and Kwasi Appiah will do his charges a lot of good by willing his defence, built around consistent John Boye to stay alert.
Equally, the Stars must stay vigilant with the aerial balls, one area that has proved problematic for the defence and goalkeeper Fatua Dauda as well.
With Ghana registering as many as five different players on the scorers sheet in four games, the Black Stars are expected to be spoilt for choice interms of finishers, making them a shade ahead of their opponents.
It is expected that Appiah will likely gift three-goal hero, Mubarak Wakaso a starting place in the game Ghana must win to inject a deeper hope into their hope of ending their Nations Cup glory that spans over three decades.
The battle lines are clearly drawn for a thrilling duel that determines who walk into the final and the continent awaits who next annex the ‘Holy Grail’ to succeed Zambia.