The first of the two soccer semifinal games to be played today in the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Luanda, Angola will be between two teams that will be in the World Cup in July: Ghana and Nigeria. Both teams have an abundance in talent. Let us preview the positional matchups.
Goalies: Ghana's goalkeeper is, who plays for Wigan Athletic in the Barclays Premier League. Even though he allows tons of goals in the English Premier League, he has played pretty good in this football tournament. The goalkeeper for Nigeria is , who plays professionally for Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel. Enyeama recorded a shutout in his last game in a victory over Zambia. Advantage: Even
Defense: Ghana's defense is rather solid. It is led by defensemen(Bayer Leverkeusen - German Bundesliga), (1899 Hoffenheim - German Bundesliga), and Samuel Inkoom (FC Basel - Swiss League). Nigeria's defense is led by Dan Shittu (Bolton Wanderers - Barclays Premier League), Onyekachi Apam (Nice - French Ligue), and Uwa Echiejile (Rennes - French Ligue 1). Try saying those names five times. Although all of these defensemen play at a high professional level in Europe, Ghana's defenders play against better competition. Advantage: Ghana
Midfielders: Ghana's star midfielderwas hurt earlier in the tournament and is not available for the rest of the tournament. Nigeria is sitting pretty at the midfield with (Fulham Cottagers - Barclays Premier League) and John Obi Mikel (Chelsea - Barclays Premier League). Etuhu and Mikel are world-class. Advantage: Nigeria by a wide margin.
Strikers: Ghana boasts plenty of strikers to give Nigeria headaches. The forwards for Ghana are(Rennes - French Ligue 1), (Udinese - Italian Serie A), Emmanuel Badu Agyemang (Chievo - Italian Serie A), and Agyemang Opoku (Al-Sadd - Qatar League). Nigeria have an immense amount of talent at striker as well. Nigeria is led by Ayegbeni Yakubu (Everton - Barclays Premier League), (Wolfsburg - German Bundesliga), and Victor Obinna (Malaga - Spanish La Liga). Advantage: Even. Both teams' strength is at this position.
I pick Ghana to win because their constant attacking throughout the game will undo the defense of Nigeria while Ghana's defenders will be able to hold up against Nigeria's offense. Either way, both of these teams are winners in my book because these players have defied the odds for being a positive influence in Africa and for dealing with all of the racist soccer fans in Europe, and in the case of Opoku, the racist Muslim soccer fans in Qatar.