(Sporting Alert) — Ghana will seek to make only their second Africa Cup of Nations final in six tries when they take on Equatorial Guinea in the semi-finals at the Estadio de Malabo on Thursday.
The Black Stars have made the last five semi-finals, but have only played in the title game once during this run when they finished runner-up in 2010.
Come Thursday, when they and the host nation Equatorial Guinea face-off in a last four for the first time, Ghana will start strong favourites, but have been warned not to take the opponents lightly.
Captain Asamoah Gyan will miss the game for the Black Stars with a hip problem so Jordan Ayew will now play in the attack with Kwesi Appiah, head coach Avram Grant announced.
Equatorial Guinea will not be an easy opponent for Ghana, despite being relatively new to the tournament.
The hosts are in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in just their second appearance — adding to their 2012 quarter-finals run and coach Esteban Becker is delighted with the way things have gone so far.
“We like the challenge, we are hungry to win. We are a young team, a team for the future. We have at least 10 top young players, but we want to take it one step at a time,” Becker said.
“All the same, I’m very happy for a small country like Equatorial Guinea, even though we lined up many young players who are playing their football in the lower leagues in Europe.
“It’s incredible, I’m proud of what we have so far achieved.”
Although he remains optimistic, Becker, believes winning the tournament will be “difficult.”
“It will be difficult to win the Cup of Nations, but I pray to still win it,” added Becker.
Striker Javier Balboa, who scored both goals for Equatorial Guinea in the 2-1 win over Tunisia in their quarter-final, including the 102nd minute winner, will again be the main focus for the host nation.
The winning of this game will meet Ivory Coast in the final after they beat DR Congo 3-1 in their semis on Wednesday.
Ghana Team: Razak Brimah, Harrison Afful, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Mubarak Wakaso, Afriyie Acquah, Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu, Jordan Ayew,Kwesi Appiah.