AFCON final: Ghana hoping Gyan is fit for Ivory Coast showdown
The last time one of the Ivory Coast and Ghana won the Africa Cup of Nations, was way back in 1992, when the Elephants came out winners in an epic (11-10) penalty shootout against this very opposition.
There is no doubt that the Ivory Coast boast a higher quality squad of players to call upon, with the likes of Manchester City duo Wilfried Bony and Yaya Toure set to be called upon once more.
While former Swansea City striker Bony has two goals this tournament already, which both came in his nation’s 3-1 win over Algeria, Elephants boss Herve Renard believes Toure will be the key man.
“I’m sure Yaya will play a decisive game,” the Frenchman said. “He will arrive in time. You saw he scored a fantastic goal in the semi-final [against DR Congo] and that was not by chance.
“When you are fantastic player, these key important games are for you. I’m sure Yaya will play a very good final.”
Gervinho, meanwhile, has arguably been the best player of the tournament so far, and he had these words to say ahead of the Ivory Coast’s six AFCON final in the last six tournaments:
“It has been a long time since we have had a final between Ghana and Ivory Coast and we want to write our history too. This is our chance and we hope to take it.
“We are very motivated. From the beginning of this competition, we said we have six games to play – we have played five and there is one remaining,” the former Arsenal and current Roma attacker added.
Avram Grant’s Ghana, meanwhile, will be no pushovers, having seen off the likes of Algeria, South Africa and 2015 AFCON hosts Equatorial Guinea, to bet to this stage.
The Stars are bidding for their first title since 1982, and fifth overall, and are 2/1 chances to win in 90 minutes.
Grant will be hoping that ex-Sunderland star and national captain Asamoah Gyan will be fit to start, after having to stay on the bench in their semi-final with the hosts following a hip injury suffered in the quarters.
Ayew brothers Jordan (of Lorient) and Andre (of Marcelo Bielsa’s high-fying Marseille) have been in form this tournament for Ghana, with the latter being joint-top scorer for this competition so far.
Ahead of the clash, former Chelsea boss Grant said: “We came from a long way, no-one gave us a chance before the tournament but we concentrated on what we were doing.
“I think this group of players has shown a lot of motivation and they’ll show it in the final.
“Every game we have played better and better, so I hope we continue like this. I know we’re playing against a very good team with very good players but we’ve also seen that we can do our job,” he continued.
Before adding: “It’s not new for us – we came from the group of living, not the group of death. They said Algeria was better than us because they’re ranked first in Africa, Senegal is better than us because many of their players are in the Premier League and so on.
As the Ivory Coast have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven AFCON games, back them to win and both teams score at 11/2.