Ghana v Botswana

Ghana captain John Mensah trains in Franceville
Ghana captain John Mensah says his team believe they can win the title


Ghana open their 2012 account against a Botswana side whose form in qualifying took the continent by surprise.

The Black Stars will, however, be expected to live up to their billing as favourites and start with a victory.

Star striker Asamoah Gyan has won his battle for fitness, but defender Isaac Vorsah misses out through suspension.

Botswana are without winger Joel Mogorosi for their first Nations Cup after he suffered a broken arm.


The Ghanaians have travelled to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea looking to end a 30-year Nations Cup trophy drought.

"The expectation is high and we know it won't be easy, but we're hopeful and believe we can win it,'' Ghana captain John Mensah said.

Coach Goran Stevanovic, like his predecessors, has a strong squad to choose from at the finals.

He may opt to rest Gyan, who only returned from a hamstring injury last week, with brothers Andre 'Dede' and Jordan Ayew, as well as Prince Tagoe, all capable of slotting in up front and with tough tests to come against Mali and Guinea.

Botswana go into their first Nations Cup with some of their confidence gained from a highly successful qualifying campaign somewhat dampened by spats between coach, players and the country's FA and a row over bonuses.

Zebras coach Stanley Tshosane will have to do without his most capped player Diphetogo 'Dipsy' Selolwane, due to suspension.

There was outcry in Botswana over the failure to call up Players' Player of the Year Sekhana Koko in Mogorosi's place, but the winger was overlooked for the defensively-minded Abednico Powell.

Tshosane will otherwise have a full complement of players, including striker Jerome Ramatlhakwane, who has regained full match fitness.