BLOEMNFOTEIN — For the football purists and neutral observers, the final match between on-form Zimbabwe and Nigeria would be the perfect finale for the African Nations Championship (Chan), but there is some serious semi-final business to be done before that happens.
Zimbabwe must overcome an unpredictable Libya while the Super Eagles must get the better of West African rivals Ghana in a match that has the potential to be a thriller at the Free State Stadium in Mangaung.
Of the four semi-finalists, it was Nigeria who impressed in their last match when they came back from three goals to win 4-3 against Morocco.
The other impressive semi-finalist team is the Warriors who have impressed with their attacking and stylish play under the mentorship of veteran coach Ian Gorowa.
To make it to the final, Zimbabwe will have to negotiate their way around Libya who bundled out stubborn Gabon 4-2 on penalties.
In the other eagerly-awaited semi-final, West African rivals the Black Stars will go head-to-head with the Super Eagles in a clash that pits arguably two of the strongest soccer nations on the African continent.
As the tournament nears its end, local organising committee chief executive officer Mvuzo Mbebe reiterated the organisers’ commitment to deliver a successful tournament that the South African public is accustomed to.
“Africa’s home champions are about celebrating African football,” Mbebe said. “Chan’s main objective is to open up a horizon for all these players who bring domestic leagues to life, but most of the time those who do not get the opportunity to put on a jersey for their national teams.
“Today we can stand proud to say that Chan has been nothing else, but a brilliant football spectable displayed by players who a few years ago could only dream about representing their national teams.”
— New Age