Africa Cup of Nations 2012: Ghana Will Finally Live Up to Immense Hype

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2012

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11:  Ghana Coach Goran Stevanovic instructs his team during the International Friendly between Ghana and Nigeria at Vicarage Road on October 11, 2011 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

When the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on Saturday, the squad from Ghana is going to be one of the most watched and scrutinized in the field because of how close it has come to breaking through in previous events, only to fall short. 

Unlike the runner-up finish at this tournament in 2010, Ghana will breakthrough and walk away with its first trophy in this event since 1982. 

This squad is as talented as any in the tournament. John Mensah will captain the ship on the field. He is supported by Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan. That group alone would be good enough to carry Ghana to a fourth or fifth place finish at this event. 

The depth of the roster is what strikes you most about Ghana this year and it is going to be difficult for anyone else to matchup with them for an entire match. 

Ghana has emerged as a favorite in this event, but there are some mental roadblocks that the squad must overcome early before it can stand tall in this event. 

From the Associated Press

After losing to Egypt in the 2010 African Cup final and making the World Cup quarterfinals when the continent’s other challengers—including Ivory Coast—faded, Ghana has to claim the title this time to end doubts over its ability to convert talent into trophies.

Just making the final probably won’t be good enough, having lost in the decider twice since 1982.

But (Goran) Stevanovic, who took over last year, knows that. The coach has accepted the pressure his team will be under to finally deliver and has used it as a positive.

Ghana's draw in group play is intriguing, though it should not give them too much trouble. It starts off with Botswana, Mali and concludes with Guinea. 

This is Ghana's time. Never before has everything lined up so perfectly for it to get over any mental and physical roadblocks and capture a title. All signs point to a victory at the Cup of Nations and nothing should stand in their way.