A sixth successive Africa Cup of Nations semi-final is on the line for Ghana, who could be without captain Asamoah Gyan against DR Congo.
Ghana head into Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against DR Congo with coach Avram Grant facing criticism for risking the fitness of captain Asamoah Gyan in their last group game.
The Black Stars, runners-up to Ivory Coast in the last edition of the tournament two years ago, had already secured their place in the last eight before meeting Egypt on Wednesday.
Grant opted to start talisman Gyan, a choice which backfired when the skipper limped out of the action shortly before half-time with a groin injury.
Although he remains doubtful for the DR Congo game, Ghana on Friday confirmed that “tests have shown that the injury is not as bad as initially feared”, which will come as welcome relief to Grant, who is already without Baba Rahman after the defender suffered a serious knee injury against Uganda.
And Grant was forced to defend his selection policy in the build-up to Sunday’s quarter-final in Oyem.
He said. “Gyan has had a lack of games in the last half a year and he felt very good and wanted to play. The plan was again to let him play 60 minutes, but what has happened has happened and this is football.”
After 1-0 wins over Uganda and Mali, Ghana’s defeat to Egypt by the same scoreline saw them qualify as runners-up in Group D, while their opponents progressed unbeaten as winners of Group C.
Florent Ibenge’s side opened with a 1-0 victory over Morocco, before a 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast and a 3-1 success over Togo, with Junior Kabananga scoring once in each game to enter the knockout stages as the competition’s top scorer.
Like Grant, Ibenge has injury concerns of his own with Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba a doubt with a knee problem.
“He felt it quite early in the [Togo] match, he carried on but if he doesn’t improve we will not be able to use him against the Ghanaians,” Ibenge said.