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Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ghana coach praises young squad

By Matthew Kenyon
BBC Sport, Luanda, Angola

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac watches his squad train
Milovan Rajevac watches his squad train ahead of Thursday's match

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac says his young squad have "proved" themselves at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

The Black Stars face Nigeria in the semi-finals on Thursday, despite going into the competition missing many key members of the team.

They have improved steadily throughout the tournament and their performance in the quarter-final against the hosts was their best so far.

"I took eight players from the squad who played at the Under-20 [World Cup] and they have proved their quality, they are tough," Rajevac said.

But he acknowledged that the game against the Super Eagles will be their biggest test to date.

"Nigeria is an experienced team and the match will be tough, because it is a semi-final," the coach said.

Ghana against Nigeria is unpredictable

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan

Rajevac said he thought Nigeria would put in a stronger performance than the one in their quarter-final against Zambia, which they won on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Meanwhile Ghana star Asamoah Gyan says the players are looking forward to the clash with their west African rivals in Luanda.

And he reminded people that Ghana have had the better of their near neighbours in recent years.

"They don't want us to beat them for the third time in three years," Gyan said.

"We are ready and we're going to do everything possible to win this match and qualify for the final [but in] a derby game, you cannot predict - Ghana against Nigeria is unpredictable."

The Black Stars have midfielder Anthony Annan available again after injury but Opoku Agyemang is suspended for the game.

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see also
Angola 0-1 Ghana
24 Jan 10 |  African
Ivory Coast 3-1 Ghana
15 Jan 10 |  African
Burkina Faso 0-1 Ghana
19 Jan 10 |  African
Zambia 0-0 Nigeria (4-5 pens)
25 Jan 10 |  African
Nigeria 3-0 Mozambique
20 Jan 10 |  African
Nigeria 1-0 Benin
16 Jan 10 |  African
Egypt 3-1 Nigeria
12 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
07 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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