The Eagles and the Pharaohs will be fighting to join Ghana in the last eight while Uganda will return home after the clash with Mali. Ghana have a score to settle with Egypt.
The Pharaohs defeated the Black Stars in the final of the 2010 Afcon, Egypt’s last appearance in the showpiece before they qualified for this edition.
The seven years Egypt spent without featuring in the Afcon were marred by political turmoil in their country.
Egypt marked a return to normality with a packed Borg El-Arab Stadium in November, beating Ghana 2-0 in the World Cup qualifiers.
“The game against Egypt is a crucial game for us. We have to send a statement. We want to maintain our 100 percent record, so that we can build our confidence going into the quarter-finals,” Asamoah Gyan said.
That statement should squash any speculations that Ghana could lose on purpose against Egypt to finish second in Group D and move to Oyem to play the winner of Group C on a better pitch than the terrible one at Stade de Port-Gentil.
Ghana lost Baba Abdul-Rahman on that pitch after he tore his ACL.
Abdul-Rahman is part of a growing list of players who have picked up injuries in this tournament.
Jonathan Pitroipa, Jonathan Zongo and Knowledge Musona have all been injured. The main reason for that is the sand that sits at the bottom of most of these pitches, forcing the players to exert themselves even more.
The Black Stars showed that even though Abdul-Rahman is back in Germany with his club Schalke, undergoing treatment there, he is still in their hearts. The players raised white t-shirts, written “GET WELL BABA” after Gyan scored the goal that took Ghana to the last eight.
“We promised that we would win the game against Uganda for him,” Gyan revealed during the post-match interviews.
“Baba is one of our key players. He is a great lad. It’s very unfortunate that he is out of the tournament. We just promised to win this game for him and that’s what we did.”
Gyan’s goal sees him boast an impressive record in the biennial, continental showpiece. He has scored in every Afcon he has played in since 2008. He is also Ghana’s all-time top in the tournament’s history with eight goals.
Despite that, the 31-year-old still finds himself being second-guessed by some of his countrymen.
“It’s part of the game,” Gyan said. “You have to be strong mentally. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve what you want to achieve. If you pay attention to critics, it wouldn’t be a good thing for you. But sometimes critics also make you stronger.
“Throughout my life I have been criticised. I have managed to overcome it every time. I have managed to be successful in life. Everything is going well for me, he explained.
“At the end of the day, after football we move on to the next thing. Whilst I am still playing, I have to do what I need to do to lead my country.”
– The Star