Ghana chase CAF clean sweep
The west African country have won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations four times, CAF African Youth Championship thrice and CAF African Junior Championship twice. This is the maiden edition of the Nations Championship for local-based footballers.
Ghana start as favourites against Congo DR in the Ivorian city of Abidjan primarily because of a 3-0 hiding they gave their opponents last Sunday in the mini-league phase. That was a must-win match for the Ghanaians and they responded admirably to the challenge with goals from midfielders Charles Taylor, captain Edmund Owusu-Ansah and striker Yaw Antwi.
Owusu-Ansah explained the secret of that success to reporters in Abidjan: "We played strictly according to the instructions our coach (Milovan Rajevac) gave us and this disorganised the Congolese. I confess that in our previous group matches against Zimbabwe and Libya we did not play according to the plans outlined by the coach and that is why we had to settle for draws."
Congo DR coach and former star Muntumbile Santos recalled that black day in the central city Bouake: "There was only one team which played that day and it was Ghana. We started the tournament with hope and this result came as a complete surprise to me. Ghana made sure we did not operate and I believe they were more determined. However, our goal of winning the trophy remains intact."
While Ghana edged Senegal on penalties after a semi-final trhiller, Congo DR showed their resilience by scoring two early goals and then surviving a second-half Zambia onslaught. The key to the final probably lies in how joint-top seeds Ghana handle the pressure of being firm favourites against opponents with little to lose and much to gain.
It is 35 years since the vast mineral-rich central African country won a CAF title - the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt - while Ghana seek their second in as many months after being crowned 2009 youth champions in Rwanda.