The lineup for the semi-final stage at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations is mouthwatering. Mali earned a spot in the semis after a dramatic penalty shootout saw them oust co-hosts Gabon in the quarter-finals.
Cote d’Ivoire also kicked out co-hosts Equatorial Guinea. The Elephants’ victory was straightforward, though: two powerful goals from Didier Drogba and an outrageous free-kick by Yaya Toure did the trick.
Like Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia recorded a 3-0 win in the quarter-finals. Christopher Katongo was the star man as the Chipolopolo dismantled the brave Sudanese.
Ghana joined Zambia in the semis thanks to a hard-fought triumph over Tunisia. Dede Ayew scored the winning goal in extra-time to force the Tunisians to a 2-1 defeat.
Re-live the quarter-finals matches through video highlights from our 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Fixtures and Results page.
Expect the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations’ semi-finalists to be at their best come Wednesday, January 8. See where to watch the matches:
• Find live streaming and TV schedule info to watch Zambia vs Ghana live at 4:00pm GMT (11:00am EST).
• Find live streaming and TV schedule info to watch Mali vs Cote d’Ivoire live at 7:00pm GMT (2:00pm EST).
Ghana’s current team has the experience of playing in the semi-finals of the AFCON. The Black Stars will actually feature in their third Last 4 encounter in a row.
In 2008, they failed to reach the final at the expense of Cameroun. They corrected their mistakes two years later in Angola so what are Zambia’s chances of upsetting one of the tournament’s favorites?
Herve Renard could give valuable tips to his team on how to defeat Ghana in a semi-final match. Remember that the French man was the assistant coach of the Black Stars during CAN 2008. However, Goran Stevanovic is also poised to emulate the feat of his predecessor and fellow countryman Milovan Rajevac by reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Christopher Katongo and Andre Ayew will provide the game’s most exciting duel. Katongo has an iron heart. The military officer leads the Chipolopolo by example. He has scored 3 goals so far and he has been tipped to shake Ghana’s defense. How will key man, Andre Ayew, respond to Katongo’s challenge?
The 22-year-old Olympique Marseille midfielder is following in the footsteps of his father. His hunger for stardom has earned him widespread criticism, even among Ghanaian supporters. However, FIFA U-20 World Cup winner Dede holds the torch of Ghana’s brighter future.
Against Tunisia, he silenced his critics by firing the Black Stars into the semis with the captain’s band, for the first time, on his left arm. The rule of the game for Andre Ayew is to do it over and over again while people insist that he lacks respect for his elders.
Success is the goal so action is a must. Can a Black Stars team, inspired by the Ayew brothers and John Boye, overcome the resistance of Zambia’s Chipolopolo?
By the time Mali and Cote d’Ivoire will lock horns in Libreville, the winning team between Zambia and Ghana would have been defined. The Eagles have one star man and everyone knows who he is. It’s Barcelona’s Seydou Keita. He will lead his nation, one more time, against a star-studded Ivoirian team.
Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho, Salomon Kalou, Didier Zokora… these are names that sound very familiar to Seydou Keita.
The Barcelona-based man came second behind Yaya Toure at the 2011 CAF Player of the Year award. Will his Malian side come second best behind Cote d’Ivoire?
The Elephants are growing in strength. The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations probably presents a very last chance for Cote d’Ivoire’s oldest players to rule the continent for the first time since the previous generation’s 1992 triumph. Wild passion might get exhibited to the maximum by Drogba and co on Wednesday night. Can we predict a game of high tension between Mali and Cote d’Ivoire?
The last time the Eagles featured in the semi-finals of the Nations Cup, they suffered a heart-breaking 4-0 defeat to Morocco. Exactly 8 years after this fiasco, can the current team match the 1972 squad’s achievement by reaching the final?
The majority’s bet is on Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to win come Wednesday. It’s down to Zambia and Mali to prove the masses wrong. Which sides will get the honor of vying for the prestigious 2012 Africa Cup of Nations title on Sunday, February 12?