Preview: Ghana vs Tunisia
Ghana are gearing up for the biggest match so far at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with the quarter-final clash against Tunisia on Sunday.
With two unsuccessful final attempts since winning the title in 1982 when Ghana last won the title, the push for a second successive final appearance on February 12 is two games away.
The West Africans must defeat the Carthage Eagles to be able to reach the last four and keep their hopes of reaching the final alive.
The game has dominated the thoughts of the Ghana team despite the mourning of Madam Sophia Sampson, mother of midfielder Anthony Annan, who passed away on Thursday back home after being taken ill.
Both sides came into the competition with great expectation having impressed so far in the tournament.
Ghana finished top of Group D having won their matches against Botswana and Mali before drawing with a stubborn Guinea side.
Tunisia on the other hand took second position in Group C where they started by losing the 1-0 to co-hosts Gabon before defeating Niger and Morocco.
The north Africans will face their test in the competition so far when they take on the Black Stars at the Stade de Franceville on Sunday at 8:00pm local time (19:00 GMT).
Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic has always sounded hopeful of ending the long title drought as he continues to talk up the Black Stars quality to cast out memories of past failures.
The Black Stars, with every player available, have proven their quality after finishing top from a tough group but they see the Tunisian threat as the biggest as they seek to raise their game.
“After the World Cup, Ghana's name rose high and we are forgetting that any team coming to play Ghana thinks they are coming up against the best team in Africa and for that matter the preparation and determination is always very high,” Kwesi Appiah, assistant Ghana coach said.
“There is some sort of a little pressure on the players as well. Everyone is expecting so much from them but I believe we would overcome it and put up a very good performance against Tunisia.”
Quality might define the outcome of this crucial meeting with Tunisia coach, Sami Trabelsi also speaking about their class and determination to go past Ghana even though he will be missing veteran midfielder Adel Chedli, who left the tournament over lack of playing time.
“I think Tunisia has the quality to beat any opponent. We don't think about the name of the teams,” Trabelsi said.
The winner advances to the semi-final to meet either Zambia or Sudan on Wednesday.