Ghana v Guinea preview
Hosts get 26th African Cup of Nations under way
By James Dall. Last Updated: 20/01/08 4:58pm
Essien: Key man
The 26th biannual African Cup of Nations gets under way on Sunday evening with hosts Ghana going head-to-head with Guinea.
Ghana are four times winners of the competition and are aiming to secure a record-equalling fifth title.
First and foremost, though, they must overcome their opponents in Group A, with Morocco and Namibia drawn alongside them - as well as Guinea.
Guinea, meanwhile, have reached the quarter-finals at the last two tournaments and will be keen to demonstrate their ongoing development as a footballing nation.
Ghana manager Claude Le Roy boasts a plethora of talent at his disposal with Chelsea's Michael Essien likely to be the heartbeat of the side.
Le Roy is without captain Stephen Appiah for the encounter, but the French coach is confident his squad is more than capable of dealing with the midfielder's absence.
"I'm fortunate, I've a lot of players who can bring something to the team. I've a lot of possibilities," he said.
Portsmouth's Sulley Muntari is set to partner Essien in the centre of midfield, while Birmingham City goalkeeper Richard Kingson could start.
However, Le Roy is remaining cautious ahead of the encounter at the Ohene Djan Stadium, and has highlighted the threat of St Etienne midfielder Pascal Feindoun.
"Guinea are a skilful football team," he continued.
"They've got some of the best players in the French league. It's a well balanced side and we know it'll be very complicated.
"They've players who can create problems, like Pascal Feindouno, but it's important we get a win on the table."
Guinea manager Robert Nouzaret is likely to look to Celtic defender Bobo Balde to play a pivotal role in nullifying Ghana's attacking prowess.
Africa Cup of Nations Group A
Africa Cup of Nations Group B
Africa Cup of Nations Group C
Africa Cup of Nations Group D