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Eagles, Black Stars talk tough ahead of CHAN titanic clash

By News Express on 29/01/2014

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West African giants Nigeria and Ghana are talking tough as the Super Eagles and Black Stars revive their rivalry on tonight in the semi-final of the South Africa 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) for home-based stars.

The Super Eagles, making their tournament debut, are slightly on top of their opponents who have been far from impressive.

Stephen Keshi’s side pitched themselves for the title after a miraculous comeback in the 4-3 win over Morocco in the quarter-final. They rallied from three goals down to beat the Atlas Lions.

Nigeria have so far scored 12 goals and conceded eight.

Nigeria will be without the services of the trio of striker Gbolahan Salami, defender Benjamin Francis and Ikenna Paul – all due to injury. But right-back Solomon Kwambe is now available for selection after serving a one-match ban.

For Ghana, goal scoring has been a problem after raking in four goals but the 2009 runners-up have strongest defence having conceded just a single goal.

“Our attack has been such that we only manage one goal per match but we have been defending very well. That for me is a sign of a team that is progressing and I don’t think it is a bad thing to defend very well,” Head coach Maxwell Konadu said.

“It is also important to score goals but in cases when you score one goal in a match and manage to defend it, that means you will win.”

Trio- Michael Akuffo, Abeiku Ainooson and Kwabena Adusei-who picked up knocks in the quarter-final clash against DR Congo are now available for selection.

Right-back Godfred Saka, who picked up a foot injury in the second Group C match against Libya, is now ready.

Nigeria have not beaten Ghana since 2006 when they nicked a 1-0 win in the Group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Konadu said of tonight’s match: “It’s right to say this is the final before the final. Matches involving these two sides are always treated with importance and seriousness.

“The two nations are two of the most powerful football nations in Africa and even the world so it doesn’t matter the level.

“It could be U-17, U-20, when Ghana is playing Nigeria, it is always a local derby. We know each other very well and we know what it means to beat Nigeria so we are putting everything in place to try and defeat them for Ghanaians.”

Keshi, on his part, said he is looking forward to a cracking clash against one of his team’s age-long rivals.

His words: “I hope that all the fans would have a good day because when Nigeria and Ghana play, everybody wants to watch and because we are brothers and play similar football, the expectation is very high.

“You know what since my playing days any team that wants to play Nigeria takes it like a World Cup final. But sincerely Ghana is a good team, we must respect them.”

•Photo, courtesy MTNFootball.com, shows the Super Eagles celebrating one of their many goals at CHAN.

Source News Express

Posted 29/01/2014 7:02:23 PM

 

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