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06.02.2015 Cup of Nations

AFCON 2015: Ex-Nigeria star Oliseh tips Ivory Coast to win title, warns against 'dangerous' Ghana

AFCON 2015: Ex-Nigeria star Oliseh tips Ivory Coast to win title, warns against 'dangerous' Ghana
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Former Nigeria skipper Sunday Oliseh has tipped Cote d'Ivoire as favourites to win Sunday's 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, but warned Ghana's chances can also not be dismissed.

It will be a dream final between two highly talented teams who have failed to be champions of Africa for a long time – Ghana last won the tournament 33 years ago and Cote d'Ivoire have not landed the trophy since 1992.

Oliseh, who won the Nations Cup in 1994 and was only denied a repeat by Cameroon in the 2000 final, said the Elephants will go into Sunday's final in the port city of Bata as top dogs but must also be wary of an impressive Black Stars especially in a championship game.

“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,” said Oliseh in an analysis he published on his personal website.

“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.”

However, the former Nigeria World Cup star said he has been equally impressed by Ghana at Equatorial Guinea 2015.

“Ghana are quite impressive and in (Christian) Atsu and the Ayew brothers (Andre and Jordan) are quite becoming unpredictable and champion material,” Oliseh rated.

“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.”

He predicted this final between Africa's best two teams could well be decided by a mistake on the day.

  “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 forecast.

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