Two West African soccer powerhouses, Nigeria and Ghana, confront each other in what promises to be a thrilling encounter tonight in a semi-final CHAN clash at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
The free-scoring Super Eagles of Nigeria underlined their attacking prowess last Saturday when they came from three goals down in the first half to send the Atlas Lions of Morocco out in a remarkable quarter-final contest.
Few people expected Keshi's men to stage a comeback after 45 minutes of tepid defending, but three goals in the second half and an extra time winner extended their unbeaten run to three games in the tournament in which they have now scored a whopping 12 goals. The Black Stars of Ghana, by contrast, have scored only four so far, but their defence has been superlative, conceding only two goals.
The Super Eagles have cherished the change in fortunes since their first game loss to Mali, the blistering form of Ejike Uzoenyi inspiring the home-based side to great dreams. Uzoenyi has netted three crucial goals for the Eagles so far in the tournament.
Bright Esieme, alongside defender Solomon Kwambe who returns from suspension, are expected to give added strength to the Eagles side today.
The head coach of the Super Eagles believes his side will overcome the Black Stars.
"The belief that as a team they can accomplish something is very encouraging and good to see. It is good to play Ghana with that kind of spirit. The hunger to succeed is there for all to see and although it will be a tough match against Ghana, I expect us to overcome," Keshi said.
The head coach of the Black stars, Maxwell Konadu is of the opinion that the weak defensive abilities of the Nigerian side will be an advantage to his side.
"Our ability to defend well and at least get a goal in every game is a plus for us against the Super Eagles, because their defense line is easy to breach," Konadu said.
Probable Lineups (from):
Nigeria: Chigozie Agbim, Kwambe Solomon, Ugonna Uzochukwu, Kunle Odunlami, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Ejike Uzoenyi, Rabiu Ali, Abubakar Ibrahim, Bright Eseme, Paul Hillary, Ifeanyi Ede.
Ghana: Stephen Adams, Abeiku Ainooson, Godfred Saka, Nuru Sulley, Kwabena Adusei, Micheal Akuffo, Richard Mpong, Jordan Opoku, Seidu Bancey, Yahaya Mohammed, Theophilus Anobaah.
Nigeria 3 - 1 Ghana