Nigerian football analyst and former national team captain Sunday Oliseh has been open with his thoughts on the two finalists who have qualified to take part in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire overcame Equatorial Guinea and DR Congo respectively in semi-final action over the past few days, giving them the right to face off for the title of African champion on February 8.
In a synopsis of the AFCON final which the former Super Eagles player published on his own website, Oliseh said that the Ivorians are his favourites to take the title, though he admitted that the result in any ultimate encounter is never easy to forecast.
“Cote d’Ivoire is clear favorite to win the final and if I didn’t know better I would tip them to be crowned Champions come final day. Finals are the most difficult to predict in soccer,” Oliseh revealed on his site.
“Player for player Cote d’Ivoire have better individual players as Ghana and they are playing better as a team now especially when they are not in possession. A better regrouping defensively and a constant change of pace with bursts of speed forwards from the midfield that is so well complimented by Wilfried Bony’s strength and versatility in front is quite remarkable and worth taking into consideration by Ghana.”
When discussing the Black Stars, the Nigerian legend revealed that his opinion hinges on the fact that the underdog tag suits Ghana, and they may use that to their benefit.
“Ghana are quite impressive and in (Christian) Atsu and the Ayew brothers (Andre and Jordan) are quite becoming unpredictable and champion material,” Oliseh suggested.
“They go into this final as underdogs but with less pressure, unlike Cote d’Ivoire, due to the fact that not many would have bet on them coming this far when the tournament kicked off.
“Ghana’s key to victory depends on how they are able play compact and deny the Ivorian’s room, try to dictate the tempo of the game and their nerves.”
Oliseh looked into his own metaphorical crystal ball when making his prediction for the final, believing that the title match may be so closely fought, that a lapse in concentration could well provide the decisive moment on Sunday.
“It is a final and near impossible to predict as Africa’s two best teams of the moment trade tackles. It is just one game of 90 minutes (plus a possible extra time of 30 minutes) and one lack of concentration from a free kick could just make the difference,” he revealed.
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