By Ollie Irish
Even without talisman Michael Essien, Ghana were plenty good enough to squeak past Nigeria without having to play their best. A header by Asamoah Gyan in the 21st minute did the damage. In truth though, this was a dreadful semi final, desperately short of quality and ambition, and long on the sort of basic errors that typified African football for so long.
I don’t blame the players for appearing less than fully committed. With the first ever African World Cup only a few months away, it’s obvious that South Africa is the priority for both Ghana and Nigeria.
The 2010 ACN was alway going to be overshadowed by this summer’s big tournament, but I also think there’s a case to be made for holding Africa’s showpiece tournament once every four years, rather than biennially. It’s not that I’m defending the clubs who don’t want to lose some of their best players midway through the season, it’s more about making the tournament feel special. I’d like to see it staggered to alternate with the World Cup, as happens with the European Championships. Perhaps it could be held the year before or after the World Cup finals, every four years?