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Sports

Cameroon upset Ghana to reach Cup of Nations final

media Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, who scored Cameroon's first goal celebrates his side's semi-final victory over Ghana with skipper Benjamin Moukandjo. RFI/Pierre-René Worms

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos hailed the esprit de corps within the squad after his side beat favourites Ghana to advance to the final against Egypt. Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui stabbed in the first midway through the second half following a mix up between Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah and defender John Boye.

Christian Bassogog claimed the second in stoppage time as Ghana threw men forward to search for an equaliser.

Broos said: “I’ve been a coach for 29 years and I’ve never had a group like this. This is a group of 23 friends. I never saw this in a football team. There is usually competition between each other, often quite a lot. But here they are just 23 friends who like to play football and who are doing everything to win the game.”

Cameroon beat Ghana nine years ago on their way to the final in Accra. There they played Egypt who won 1-0 to claim their sixth title.

The 64-year-old Belgian added: “For me it is very easy as a coach. I can count on the players because we have a group of friends. If you have players who don’t like each other, you have problems when one is on the bench. This is not an issue for me. All they want to do is win.”

Ghana’s hopes of progressing to a second consecutive final suffered a setback when skipper and star striker Asamoah Gyan was ruled out of the starting eleven. The 31-year-old came on as a second half substitute when they were hunting an equaliser.

“Gyan did everything to be fit,” said Ghana coach Avram Grant. “He couldn’t train until a day before the match. I put him on the bench in case we needed him. He did everything to be ready for the team.”

Grant’s side will travel to Port-Gentil for the third place play-off on Saturday against Burkina Faso while Cameroon, who have have won the Cup of Nations four times, head to the capital for their showdown with Egypt who are seeking an eighth continental crown.

“This team came to Gabon and nobody believed in them,” said Broos of his brood. “If you had said it will be Cameroon in the final, people would have laughed.

“Egypt is a team that is very experienced. We have to be good again," he added. "But if we can be like we have been in the quarter and semi-final, I think it will be a close game.”

 

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